The Library began as a collection of 1200 volumes housed in a Conroe School Recreation Center and operated by a women's group known as the HUB Club.
The group appealed to the County to make the library a tax-supported function of County government.
First Library Branch
In 1948 the Library was taken over by the County and a budget of $25,000 provided. Katherine Ard was hired as its first librarian and a bookmobile was put into operation to serve outlying areas of the county
Library's First Move
In 1950 the Library was moved to a vacant automobile showroom on North Frazier.
Funds for Facility
A bond election was held for a new Library facility. $300,000 was approved.
Brand New Building
The new Library, located at 400 N. San Jacinto, was completed. It was 10,000 square feet.
A second bookmobile was added.
Mattie Howard was appointed Library Director.
East Branch Library
Opened in leased space in a shopping center between New Caney and Porter.
Change in Leadership
Hank Blasick was appointed Library Director.
South Branch Library
Opened in The Woodlands Information Center.
Central Branch Changes
The carport, breezeway, and terrace of the Central Library were enclosed to add 3,000 square feet.
South Branch Library complete
The South Branch on Many Pines Street was completed. The Woodlands donated the site and a federal LSCA grant for $75,000 was obtained to help fund the construction cost of the 5,500 square foot building.
Central Grows Again
Another 2,000 square feet was enclosed at the Central Library. The total square footage totals 15,000.
June 21, 1980
Central Library Fire
A fire in the Central Library damaged the interior and destroyed many books.
Central Library Reopens
After the fire, the Library closed until April, 1981.
David Calloway was appointed Library Director.
Bookmobile service discontinued.
East Branch Relocated
The East Branch Library was moved into the East County Courthouse Annex in March.
Magnolia Branch Library opened
Magnolia Branch Library opened a 2,800 square foot branch in the Southwest County Annex.
East Branch reopened
East Branch Library opened in its own 6,400 square foot building next to the East County Annex in New Caney. The total cost of construction was $270,000, of which an LSCA grant was obtained for $50,000.
Change in Leadership
Mike Baldwin was appointed Library Director.
East Branch renamed
East Branch was renamed R. B. Tullis Library by Commissioners' Court.
West Branch Library opened
West Branch opened in the Western Hills Shopping Center in 1,600 square feet of space donated rent free for 3 years.
Long-Range Planning Study began
The Library Consultant firm of HBW Associates was hired for $22,000 to perform a long-range planning study of the Library System with recommendations for facility and operational improvements to the year 2000.
Long-Range Planning Study completed
Private Funding begins
A Library Foundation was formed to help raise private funding for the Library System.
Willis Library planned
The Friends of the Willis Library obtained a federal Library Services and Construction Act (LSCA) grant for $100,000 to build a library in Willis.
Citizens Task Force Appointed
County Judge Alan Sadler appointed a citizens library task force to examine the needs for library service in Montgomery County.
Willis Library opened
The 6,000 square foot Meador Branch Library in Willis was opened.
LSCA Grant Received
County received a LSCA grant for $100,000 with a County match of $128,000 to expand the West Branch Library from 1600 to 6,600 sq. ft. by purchasing space at the Western Hills Shopping Center.
Task Force Report
The Library Task force gave its report to Commissioners' Court, recommending a bond election for $9.25 million to build: a 50,000 sq. ft. Central Libary in Conroe; a 30,000 sq. ft. regional branch in The Woodlands; $100,000 toward a new Magnolia Branch; $500,000 for new books for the system; and $750,000 for automation & computerization of the system.
November 5, 1991
Voters approved $9.25 million for Library system in bond election. Vote approval by 63%.
South Branch Burned
South Branch burned to the ground as a result of arson. About $800,000 in insurance money was made available as a result.
South Branch Architect approved
Ray Bailey Architects was recommended by the Oversight Committee and approved by Commissioners’ Court as the Library architect. David Hennington was retained by the architect as the library consultant for the project.
South Branch Temporary Location
South Branch Library opened in temporary space of 10,000 sq. ft. in a former grocery store in Grogan’s Mill Shopping Center in The Woodlands, primarily with thousands of donated books.
LSCA Grant for South Branch
LSCA grant of $100,000 was approved by the State Library to help with the construction of the new South Regional Branch.
Library Director discussed the possibility of joint automation with the Associate Dean of the North Harris Montgomery Community College District.
Joint Automation of system
The Oversite Committee recommended joint automation as best means for Library system.
November 20, 1992
West Branch reopened
The expanded West Branch Library was opened to the public.
February 9, 1993
South Regional Branch Ground Breaking
The official ground breaking for the new South Regional Branch and Central Library were held.
Automate-Match Grant Received
Library received an Automate-Match grant for $18,600 from Houston Area Library System to assist with automation of the Library System.
Dynix Automation Approved
A 5-year contract for Dynix automation services was approved by Commissioners’ Court with NHMCCD.
New Employees Approved
Commissioners’ Court approved the 1993/94 budget, authorizing hiring 20 FTE new positions including 8 new librarians and a Branch Coordinator to help staff the new facilities. 1993
May 16, 1994
South Branch closes for move
The old South Branch was closed so its contents could be moved to the new South Regional Branch.
June 13, 1994
South Regional Branch reopened
The new South Regional Branch opened to the public and the old Central Library closed for its move.
July 25, 1994
The new Central Library opened to the public.
September 10, 1994
South Regional's grand opening
The new South Regional Branch celebrated its official grand opening
Management & Performance Review
Deloitte & Touche LLP conducted a management and performance review of the Library System.
Magnolia Ground Breaking
Ground breaking for the new facility in Magnolia.
June 2, 1997
Jerilynn A. Williams named Library Director.
Public access to the Internet was initiated.
Magnolia Branch renamed
Magnolia Branch renamed to honor Commissioner Malcolm Purvis.
November 22, 1997
Malcolm Purvis Library born
Grand opening activities were held for the Malcolm Purvis Library - Magnolia Branch.
Joint Automation Services
Revised 3-year contract for joint automation services was negotiated with NHMCCD and approved by the Commissioners’ Court in the fall.
MCMLS was awarded a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant of $74,725 to upgrade automation software to Windows-based UniPAC and to enhance information access.
April 1, 1999
Telecommunications Grant Received
A Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund (TIF) grant of $115,000 was received for upgrading the network infrastructure and improving patron access between April 1, 1999 and June 30, 2000.
MCMLS circulations exceed one million items for the first time during FY 1999; a total of 1,021,324 checkouts were recorded.
Gates Foundation Grant received
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded two grants to MCMLS for a total of $135,000; one to fund a computer training lab, the second to provide 4 specially configured PCs and content servers to 5 locations.
TIF Grant received
A TIF grant of $200,000 was awarded to upgrade public access workstations and pay a portion of the cost to migrate to new automation software (Horizon).
Long Range Planning
The Library Board initiated long range planning to identify needs and the service responses, goals, objectives, and strategies to address them over the next five years. Dr. Julie B. Todaro was engaged to assist with the organizational planning; Library Consultant Catherine S. Park conducted a facilities assessment and developed a 5-year master plan.
Library Use Grows
Ended with record-breaking statistics, including 1,057,882 circulations; 310,619 reference transactions; and 788,730 users recorded.
Planning Task Force Convened
A Planning Task Force was convened to examine the current and future needs of the MCMLS and to recommend a master plan for the library system.
Ended with record-breaking statistics, including 1,063,826 items circulated; over 345,000 reference transactions, and 878,619 users counted.
Facilities Master Plan Accepted
The acceptance of a Facilities Master Plan by the Planning Task Force. A $10 million bond issue was placed on the November 2002 ballot for the replacement of the existing R.B. Tullis and West branch libraries and the addition of a new branch in the far western portion of The Woodlands. The bond issue was approved by a 52% to 48% margin despite a vigorous anti- campaign staged by a group of citizens opposed to higher taxes.
In the late summer of 2002, the Library System and the Director, Jerilynn Williams were attacked as purveyors of pornography for stocking books It’s So Amazing and It’s Perfectly Normal by author Robie Harris. This attack sparked a vigorous public debate and attempts to ban the Harris books from the library made national news. In the end, the Commissioners’ Court voted to keep the two works in their original classifications and to slightly revise the Library System’s review policy. Five citizens, one appointed by each member of the Court, were added to the review committee for challenges to juvenile and young adult materials.
Library Use Continues to Grow
End of fiscal year again reflected tremendous growth in the use of the Library System, with a record 1,094,744 circulations; over 83,000 people attended Library programs; and an all-time high of 993,045 patrons recorded visiting System locations.
Design of the three new library facilities was initiated.
R. B. Tullis Site
The site for the R.B. Tullis replacement was donated by the East Montgomery County Improvement District, along with $500,000 designated for enhancing aesthetics of the new building.
Land donated for Woodlands branch
Land for the new branch in The Woodlands was donated by The Woodlands Operating Company.
Donation for West Branch site
Philip and Holly LeFevre donated the site for the West branch replacement.
Circulation for FY 2003 was 1,174,224, an all-time record for MCMLS, and the 9th consecutive year for circulation increases. 90,591 people attended Library programs in FY 2003 and volunteers contributed over 13,000 hours to help run the Library System.
July 21, 2004
Mitchell Library Groundbreaking
Groundbreaking at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Library in The Woodlands
MCMLS selected as a 2007 Texas Book Festival grant recipient for its Every Child Ready to Read program focusing on early literacy skills for pre-readers. Both Central Library and Mitchell Library were awarded funds.
24/7 Reference Added
Online chat reference is introduced on the MCMLS website's homepage, allowing library patrons to chat with a reference librarian 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
MCMLS partners with other Houston-area libraries to provide downloadable eBooks, eAudiobooks, and eVideos through OverDrive Digital Media. For the first time, MCMLS patrons are able to "check out" books and other materials by downloading them onto their computers or devices for free.
October 16, 2007
MCMLS staff members accepted the PIE Award - "Patrons Influencing Education" - from the Conroe Independent School District.
March 24, 2008
Time Capsule at Tullis
R. B. Tullis Library celebrates the one year anniversary of its new building with a time capsule to be opened on March 24, 2018.
November 25, 2008
Spanish Books Added
Conroe State Farm donates $3500 toward the purchase of over 200 Spanish-language books for MCMLS.
January 12, 2009
MCMLS introduces Library L.I.T.E., a library system-wide walking and weight loss initiative for both staff and library customers.
My Library, My Story
Over 1,000 MCMLS customers share stories of how the library has impacted their lives through the "My, Library, My Story" campaign to raise awareness of the importance of libraries in the community.
MCMLS initiates the "Adopt-A-Book" program to give library customers a way to sponsor much-needed book titles in honor of loved ones just in time for the holidays.
Library Friends Awarded
Library Friends of Conroe awarded one of five National Friends of Libraries Week awards by ALTAFF at the American Libraries Association midwinter meeting in Boston. The award for the MCMLS Central Library Friends Group came with a $250 check as well as a certificate.
January 15, 2010
Spanish Book Donation
MCMLS receives a donation of 150 Spanish-language books from the Consul General of Mexico in Houston. The books, valued at approx. $4000, address the needs of a fast-growing segment of the Montgomery County population. A reception was held in late January featuring the books and musical entertainment.
Jerilynn Williams Becomes TLA Leader
MCMLS Library Director Jerilynn Williams was elected to lead the Texas Library Association, the largest library association in the nation with over 7,000 members. Williams serves a three-year term on the TLS executive board beginning April 2010, with the first year as President-elect, the next as President, and the third as Past-President.
April 16, 2010
Highsmith Award Received
Jerilynn Williams (Library Director) and Melissa Baker (Marketing & Programming Coordinator) accept the Highsmith Award on behalf of MCMLS at the TLA conference in San Antonio. MCMLS was one of only two recipients of this 12th annual Hishmith Award, which recognizeds one school library and one other library for its innovation and creativity in library marketing.
Spelling Bee Winners
MCMLS Central Library Staff team (Andrea Yang, Melissa Baker, and Jessica Russell) wins the 2010 Annual Adult Spelling Bee. Sponsored by the Conroe Courier and Houston Community Newspapers, the annual spelling bee benefits the Literacy Volunteers of America-Montgomery County.
New Delivery Truck
MCMLS acquires a new, 14-foot book delivery can and installs a truck wrap featuring the library logo and website.
MCMLS initiates a new email newsletter called E-News.
September 30, 2010
2 Million & Counting
The total number of items circulated or "checked out" crossed the 2 million mark for the first time during the fiscal year 2010. Circulation totals for the year reached 2,035,605.
Updated policies are introduced for circulation, unattended minors, and customer behavior. Included in the new policies, library cards must be renewed annually.
October 15, 2010
Loan Star Libraries Grant
MCMLS receives $86,600 in funding through the Loan Star Libraries grant, in support of books, computer equipment, and library programs. This is the last year MCMLS received this grant support as it was eliminated in State budget cuts the following year.
November 17, 2010
The first MCMLS geocache is created and hosed at the Central Library in Conroe.
Geocache "Dewey's Revenge" installed R. F. Meador Branch Library in Willis.
Author Series Luncheon
MCMLS receives $3000, a portion of the proceeds from the 7th annual Signatures Author Series Luncheon presented by the John Cooper School in The Woodlands.
September 9, 2011
Library Friends Fundraiser
The Library Friends of Conroe in partnership with Stage Right hold a fundraiser for the Cetral Library in Conroe during the premiere of the play "Mama Won't Fly".
September 30, 2011
Digital Check-outs Increased
Digital check-outs increased 152.3% in fiscal year 2011 over the previous year.
December 8, 2011
Geocache "The Container" installed at the George & Cynthia Woods Mitchell Library in partnership with a local Boy Scout troop.
Study/Meeting Room Policies
A new Study Room Policy and updated Meeting Room Policy take effect beginning 2012. The updated policy introduces fees for A/V equipment and non-cardholders.
April 23, 2012
South Regional Closes for Renovations
South Regional Library closes for renovations. Expenses for the renovations were paid by the South Montgomery County Friends of the Library, using funds from a bequest from the Lorna Felton Estate.
May 2, 2012
South Regional Renovations Completed
Renovations are completed, and the South Regional Library in The Woodlands reopens to the public. Repairs included a new circulation desk, updating the doorway and security gate, and expanding the gift store.
In celebration of World Wide Knit in Public Day, the Conroe-based knitting group Hip-to-Stitch displays knitting works throughout the library. View pictures here.
July 20, 2012
Vicki Christopher Day
The City of Conroe issues a proclamation naming July 20, 2012 "Vicki Christopher Day", in honor of her distinguished years of service as a volunteer for the Library Friends of Conroe and a passionate advocate of reading and literacy in the community.
September 6, 2012
"Fact or Fiction?"
Geocache "Fact or Fiction?" installed at the South Regional Library.
September 17, 2012
Geocache "Magnolia Memories" installed at the Malcolm Purvis Library.
September 21, 2012
Geocache "Tullis Tidbits" installed at the R.B. Tullis Library.
MCMLS on Facebook
MCMLS announces the creation of their Facebook page in order to communicate to library customers upcoming events, library and book related news, MCMLS job openings, local trivia, and more.
October 4, 2012
The "Charlie's Ghost" geocache is installed at the Charles B. Stewart-West Branch Library, completing the goal set in 2010 to have a geocache hidden at each of the seven public libraries in Montgomery County.
Online Study/Meeting Room Reservations
MCMLS offers for the first time online study room bookings and meeting room requests using the Evanced Room Reserve software sponsored by the South Montgomery County Friends of the Library.
February 2, 2013
Montgomery County Book Festival
The first annual Montgomery County Book Festival is held at the Lone Star College-Montgomery campus, featuring known authors of books for children, teens, and adults.
May 27, 2013
A secret geocache is hidden for the truly adventurous to locate through a series of clues.
World Book Online eBooks
eBooks from World Book Online Database are now available from MCMLS.
Credit/Debit Accepted on Print Card Machine
The print card dispenser at the Central Library in Conroe now accepts credit and debit cards, with a $5.00 minimum charge.
April 12, 2015
First Little Free MCMLS
The first Little Free MCMLS Library is installed at the Deerwood Community Center. A geocache was added to this installation in March 2017.
Launchpads for Kids Available for Checkout
Launchpad Playaway devices are digital tablets for kids and can be checked out to adult cardholders. Each device id pre-loaded, filled with a variety of educational apps on various themes.
September 23, 2015
Mitchell Library Anniversary
The George & Cynthia Woods Mitchell Library celebrates the 10th anniversary of its opening.
October 1, 2015
Symphony Catalog Announced
MCMLS is updating from the Horizon system to Symphony from Sirsi Dynix. The branches were closed for staff training in the new system and catalog, which were launched in November 2015.
October 8, 2015
Author Visit: Ann Wiesgarber
The author of the 2015 Gulf Coast Reads selection The Promise visits Mitchell Library.
January 25, 2016
Meador Expansion Begins
After much planning and preparation, concrete is poured for a 2,400 sq ft addition to the R.F. Meador Branch Library. In addition to an enlarged and enhanced children’s area, there will be a new meeting room, a family restroom, an office for the children’s staff, and a dedicated computer lab.
Fresh*Reads: Online Book Club
A new online book club Fresh*Reads is launched on Goodreads. The first book selection was Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.
2016 Summer Reading Video
A video created with the help of library patrons debuts to promote the 2016 MCMLS Summer Reading Program.
Meador Meeting Room Finished
The R.F. Meador Branch Library holds its first meetings and summer reading programs in its new meeting room and children’s area.
November 14, 2016
Dedication Ceremony for Finished Meador Expansion
A dedication ceremony is held for the newly expanded R.F. Meador Branch Library.
December 1, 2016
BookButler, a new digital service from MCMLS that delivers personalized book recommendations to patrons via email, is launched.
December 2, 2016
Donation from John Cooper School
A generous donation is received from the John Cooper School in The Woodlands - Two years in a row MCMLS has received a large donation to support literacy. The funds helped expand the collection for At Home Books, our Outreach service that delivers books to seniors.
Casual Day for United Way Success
Library employees raised over $8,000 in the annual charitable giving campaign drive for Montgomery County United Way.
January 1, 2017
Online Meeting Room Applications
Patrons are now able to submit meeting room applications online.
Mitchell Library Nominated
The George and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Library is nominated nominated for the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Services by U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady. The library goes on to become one of 15 finalists.
February 6, 2017
Stewart Library Recognized for Toys for Tots Donations
The Charles B. Stewart-West Branch Library receives recognition for its Toys for Tots donations from both staff and patrons.
BookButler Newsletters Launched
The first monthly newsletters from the BookButler program are sent out. Patrons can subscribe to any of several newsletters with recommendations in different genres and formats.
March 8, 2017
Author Visit: Rhys Bowen
MCMLS is delighted to welcome New York Times Bestselling Author, Rhys Bowen, for an author visit and book signing at The George & Cynthia Woods Mitchell Library in The Woodlands.
March 10, 2017
More Little Free Libraries
Two new Little Free MCMLS Libraries are installed in Dobbin and Splendora – Installations are at the Dobbin Community Center and EMCCDC Building.
March 20, 2017
The George & Cynthia Woods Mitchell Library is announced as a Finalist for the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Services.