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NICHOLSON MEMORIAL – ITS BEGINNINGS

Author: Lowell Lindsey

           
S. E. (Samuel E.) Nicholson      W. R. Nicholson

 

For older residents of Garland, May 9, 1927 is a date few can forget. On that date at 3:10 A. M. a tornado dropped from the sky and tore its way through the northwest corner of the city, demolishing over two blocks of homes before swerving back to the southeast where it struck again in the smaller Community of Nevada, Texas. In all, fourteen lives were lost in Garland including Mrs. Missouri Nicholson and her son and former mayor, S. E. Nicholson.

It was this tragedy in loss of lives and property that was to bring about the establishment of the Nicholson Memorial Library here in Garland.

The original Building, only recently demolished, was purchased by W. R. Nicholson of Longview, Texas, as a memorial to his mother and brother. Donated to the City in February, 1933, it was to serve as the City’s library until April, 1966. The library was originally established as a volunteer project by various groups and individuals and was opened for public use on December 23, 1933, with a collection of some 2,344 books. Mrs. J. H. White was named Librarian, a volunteer post which she held for about 2 ½ years. She was succeeded by Miss Edith Tally and later by Miss Mary Catherine Tucker.

In 1942 Mrs. Olin Talley transferred within the City from another position to become the first paid librarian. She was to serve in this position until March, 1965. Under her leadership the library was to grow and develop during the post war years.

World War II and the economic boom following brought tremendous changes to Garland. With increased demands being placed on all City services, permission was sought and obtained for the library to join the Dallas County Library program. Within this program, the County furnished permanent and revolving book collections as well as consultant services.

This participation with the County was to continue into the early 1960’s; however, the library was designated as a department within the City government’s structure in the 1956-57 budget. With this designation and resultant funding the library’s growth began to accelerate.

By the early 1960’s it was becoming obvious that the building could no longer provide adequate space for developing services and provisions were made for moving the library to new quarters.

In March, 1965 Lowell Lindsey was hired as Library Director as Mrs. Talley was nearing municipal retirement. Under his direction the old City Hall building at 504 State Street was remodeled as interim home for the library until new quarters provided under a bond program could be built. The new quarters were dedicated during National Library Week in April 1966. During the next four years the library was to begin an unprecedented growth period which included expansion of the book collection, the introduction of specialized business services, microform services and others needed to serve a growing city.

In September, 1970, the 20,000 square feet new facility was opened for service and in February, 1971, bonds were approved to open branch library facilities and further enlarge the main library.

This program along with growing use of the library’s services will ensure the City’s library program will continue to expand in the future.