Although the Cepeda Branch opened on June 20, 1998, it has a history in East Austin that spans over 25 years. It officially got its start back in 1975 as the Rosewood-Zaragoza Branch, located within the Rosewood-Zaragoza Recreation Center on Webberville Road. Then in 1978, having outgrown its space at the Rec Center, the branch was moved to a shopping center on E. 7th Street and renamed the Govalle Branch. A few years later, the Govalle Branch was relocated to a leased site on E. César Chávez, where it remained for ten years. Finally in 1992, after East Austin residents had campaigned for over a decade for a new branch in their area, a City bond issue passed appropriating funds for building six new branches in Austin, including one for Govalle. The site on Pleasant Valley Road was soon chosen and, in the spring of 1997, ground breaking ceremonies were carried out for the new branch. While it was initially to be named the Zaragoza Branch, in 1997 it was named the Cepeda Branch in honor of Eustasio Cepeda, a Latino community leader in the 1930s and 1940s.
The Art in Public Places piece Dawn to Dusk by Rene Anguiano is housed at the Cepeda Branch.