Howson Branch

Monday - Thursday10 AM - 9 PM
Friday1 PM - 6 PM
Saturday10 AM - 5 PM

The Howson Branch opened in Austin’s Tarrytown neighborhood on October 5, 1960. It was built not from city funds, but from the bequest of Mrs. Emilie Wheelock Howson, for whom the Branch is named. A portrait of Mrs. Howson has been on display in the Library since opening day. In 1994, the Howson Branch benefited from another sizeable gift when Mrs. Jean Southerland donated funds for the addition of a periodicals reading room in the library, in honor of her late husband and local architect Louis Feno Southerland. Dedicated in 1996, the Louis Southerland Reading Room includes a decorative glass partition that was designed by Susan Fiedorek and David Heymann as part of the City’s Art In Public Places Program. Extensive renovations and asbestos abatement of the entire building were completed in April of 2010 to enhance the interior and exterior of the Branch. Improvements include increased public space, enlarged computer area, improved internet connectivity, additional electrical circuits for laptops, enhanced audiovisual presentation equipment for the meeting room, new HVAC equipment, a rainwater harvesting system integrated with a reflective “cool roof”, and a fully accessible handicapped entrance/exit to the parking lot. Careful consideration was taken to preserve the overall ambience of this beloved Branch nestled in the heart of one of Austin’s most established neighborhoods, while technologically bringing the facility into the Twenty-first Century.