Library returns to community after closing more than a decade ago

Williamson County

JARRELL, Texas (KXAN) — After more than a decade since the city’s first library closed, a group of dedicated volunteers are just about ready to bring the service back to Jarrell. 

“It’s amazing,” Julia Dade said, laughing. “Generally it takes about five to 10 years for a city to get a library. For us to do it in four, I’m really excited.”

The new Jarrell Community Library will be housed in a 2,500-square foot space in the Sonterra Municipal Utility District office building, located at 113 Limestone Terrace. Dade joined the community-led effort four years ago to bring a library back to town after a student’s simple questions were brought up at a meeting.

“I worked as a case manager with Juvenile Services in Williamson County,” Dade said. “We were in a meeting with [Justice of the Peace] Judge [Bill] Gravell. There was a comment that came up from a person who had a child, whose child was a third grader at the time, and said, ‘Mom, why don’t we have a library in Jarrell? Who do I need to write to get that library?”

The city has not had a library for more than a decade. A small, one-room building without a restroom previously housed a privately-run library that closed in 2007. 

Since that time, people have donated a building, furniture, shelving and hundreds of books to reopen a library. Heavy boxes of books are stacked several feet high right now in a large room in the Sonterra MUD building, which Dade said will eventually become the main library. Many of the books were even donated from a woman who ran a library that ended up closing in Troy, Texas. 

Julia Dade and Monte Payne stand in a room filled with books donated to the new Jarrell Community Library. (KXAN) 

“The boxes you see now,” she said, pointing to the room filled with boxes, “this is probably only one-third of everything that’s available that people have committed to us to be able to open the library.”

Dade said another room will be used to house a children’s library. A hallway will also become an art gallery to showcase the work of local artists and students. 

“We want this to be a space where when people walk in,” Dade said, “they want to continue to move into the library and they feel comfortable and they feel welcomed.”

Other supporters of the new library, like Monte Payne of Jarrell, said they’d now like others to join the effort so that they can put all the finishing touches on the library. 

“We’ve got tons of books and tons of passion,” Payne said. “Now we need volunteers.”

The group plans to have the Jarrell Community Library open to the public within the next two months. 

If anyone would like to donate to the project or find out more information, visit the library’s website

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