The Austin Public Library opened in 1926. The present Central Library building was constructed in 1979. In 1995 the Central Library was renamed John Henry Faulk Central Library in honor of local writer and free speech hero John Henry Faulk. As the main library, Faulk Central serves as the reference and collection backbone for the entire Austin Public Library system.
As the local history collection of the Austin Public Library, the Austin History Center (AHC) provides the public with information about the history, current events, and activities of Austin and Travis County. The AHC collects and preserves information about local governments, businesses, residents, institutions, and neighborhoods so that generations to come will have access to their history. For more information about the AHC visit library.austintexas.gov/ahc.
View a video about the Austin History Center.
The George Washington Carver Branch has a unique place in Austin Public Library's history. The building which is now the Carver Museum was the original Carver Branch Library. In 1933 when a 26,000 square foot Italian Renaissance building replaced the original 1,800 square foot wooden frame building as the new Central Library, the wooden frame building was moved to 1165 Angelina St., resurfaced with brick and became APL's first branch, and the first branch to serve black citizens. Black citizens in East Austin had advocated strongly for a library in their community.
Carver Computer and Job Search Center
The Carver Computer and Job Search Center assists job seekers in the community by providing access to technology and training. Job seekers can take advantage of one-to-one instruction provided by library staff as well as classes taught by staff and community volunteers. The Carver Computer and Job Search Center is free and open to the public and parking is free of charge.
Carver Computer and Job Search Center HOURS OF OPERATION
Monday - Thursday 10 AM - 8 PM
Saturday 11 AM - 4 PM
Friday - Sunday: Closed
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 Center, the Branch was moved to a shopping center on E. 7th Street and renamed Govalle. A few years later, the Govalle Branch was relocated to a leased site on E. César Chávez, where it remained for the next 10 years. Finally in 1992, after East Austin residents had campaigned for over a decade for a new branch facility in their area, a city bond issue passed which appropriated 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 Hampton Branch of the Austin Public Library opened its doors to the communities of Southwest Austin on April 26, 1997. The Branch was named in honor of Austin civic leader Will Hampton, who died on September 24, 1996. Built with Capital Improvement Project funds approved by voters in the 1992 bond election, the 8,400 square-foot facility was designed with the potential to expand to 15,000 square feet as demands grew. A colorful relief painting of water birds in flight currently surrounds a large round window in the branch lobby. The painting, created by artist David Everett as part of the City’s Art and Public Places program, is set against a pitched ceiling of skylights to give the lobby an atrium quality. Today, the Hampton Branch is one of the busiest branches in the Austin Public Library system.
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.
The Little Walnut Creek Branch of the Austin Public Library first opened its doors to the public on February 9, 1979 with a dedication ceremony following on May 17, 1979. Designed by architect James M. Patterson, the new 11,000 square-foot facility was built to serve the rapidly growing needs of North Austin and North Travis County. Funding for the Branch was made possible through the 1972 city bond issue, which also financed the construction of the Manchaca Road Branch in 1974 and downtown Central Library in 1979. While rapid growth in North Austin brought a variety of challenges to Little Walnut in the late 1980s to 1990s, the Branch continued to expand its role in the community through its programs and services. A Computer Learning Center was added to the Branch in 1999, and in June 2000, the branch opened a New Immigrants Center to provide helpful resources to individuals who are new to this country.
The Manchaca Road Branch was originally built in 1974, not as a neighborhood branch, but as a city-owned regional branch for South Austin and Southwest Travis County. The Branch's "regional identity" was eventually dropped in the late 1980s as the Austin Public Library moved towards equalizing services among all branches. Since then, the Branch has expanded and deepened its role within the South Austin community.
When the Milwood Branch of the Austin Public Library celebrated its grand opening on July 26, 1997, the event was not only considered a triumph, but also the end of a long road-for both the Milwood community and the Austin Public Library. In the mid-1980s, concerned citizens and neighborhood organizations began lobbying for the much-needed Branch in far North Austin. Their campaign continued into the 1990s until voters finally approved funds for the Branch in the 1992 bond election. The Branch officially opened its doors to the public in 1997. The 8,266 square-foot facility designed with the potential to expand to 15,000 square feet is situated on a beautiful wooded site of 7.5 acres. The Milwood Branch is strategically located between the Spicewood Springs and Little Walnut Creek Branches and, together, the three facilities create a service triangle for meeting the informational needs of far North Austin.
On August 2, 1971, the Austin Public Library officially opened its North Village Branch in storefront property within the North Village Shopping Center. The conveniently located 3,000-square-foot facility replaced an APL mobile trailer that for some time had been busily checking out books from the shopping center parking lot. The library moved only once in its 30-year history, in 1990, when it shifted a few doors down to a larger space within the Center, expanding to 5,000 square feet. In the 1998 City of Austin Bond Election, voters approved funding for the land acquisition, design, and construction of the North Village Branch Replacement Project to better serve the growing populations of the north central Austin neighborhoods. The Grand Opening of the new North Village Branch was held on Saturday, May 30, 2009. The Branch was patterned after the “library for the future” model, a library design concept which borrows many of its characteristics from upscale bookstores. Today, the North Village Branch features one of the largest DVD collections in the APL system, an express area furnished with automated self-check equipment, a sizeable children’s area and teen center, lots of sunshine and natural light, a beverage station with coffee, tea, and hot chocolate for purchase, two listening stations programmed with selections from the Branch’s CD collection, and a very “green” building complete with a rainwater harvesting system for irrigation, rooftop solar panels for electrical power generation, and xeriscape landscaping incorporating native plants.
The Old Quarry Branch of the Austin Public Library system opened with great fan-fare on January 15, 1976 in the Northwest Hills Shopping Center in Northwest Austin. The branch was designed by architect Charles B. Croft and built on property that once held a 100-acre, 30-foot deep limestone quarry—hence the name “Old Quarry.” Equipped with 8,300 square feet of floor space, the new branch replaced the Highland Park Branch, which had faithfully served the Northwest Austin area from 1958 until its closing in 1975. Old Quarry has seen two major renovations. The most extensive one occurred in 1992 when the Branch received a head-to-toe “makeover” complete with new carpeting and furniture, a new roof and floor plan, and an updated color scheme. Then in 1999, in response to the Americans With Disabilities Act, additional modifications were made to the Branch to make it and its resources more accessible to persons with disabilities.
Old Quarry Branch Talk Time takes place every Thursday from 10:30 AM to 12 noon.
The Old Quarry Branch Book Club meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 7 PM to 8:30 PM.
Although the Pleasant Hill Branch of the Austin Public Library officially opened in South Austin on May 1, 1987, the Branch was actually founded back in 1966 with the opening of the Southwood Mall Branch in the Southwood Mall shopping center. In 1982, it was relocated to retail space within the Century South shopping center at the intersection of E. William Cannon and IH-35, and renamed the Century South Branch. Five years later, it moved again, but this time to a permanent facility. It was named Pleasant Hill since it stands on the hill that serves as the focal point and namesake for the area. In 2000 the interior and exterior of the Branch was renovated and an outdoor “council ring” sitting area, peacefully situated under a shady cluster of oak trees, was added. The area has quickly become a popular spot for reading, storytelling, and just passing the time.
Recycled Reads, the Austin Public Library's Used Bookstore, is a zero-waste, non-profit with all proceeds benefitting the Austin Public Library. Along with books weeded from the Library’s collection, the bookstore offers books that were donated and overruns direct from the publisher. Nothing ever goes into the landfill. What can’t be sold is responsibly recycled. Since May 2011 the used bookstore has diverted 47 tons from the landfill while raising funds for the Library. For more information visit www.recycledreads.org.
The Daniel E. Ruiz Branch was once the Riverside Drive Branch, at the time one of the smallest branches in the Austin Public Library system. The Branch got its start in November of 1968 when APL opened the Montopolis Branch in a neighborhood shopping center at 735 Montopolis Drive. It replaced a busy APL bookmobile that for over a year was stationed outside a nearby community center. In 1983, having outgrown the space, the Montopolis Branch was moved to the Rivertowne Mall and renamed the Riverside Drive Branch. In 1991, after receiving a federal grant in 1990 to open a Job Information Center which demanded more space, the Branch moved to a new location within the Riverside Place Shopping Center. The Job Information Center was retired in 1996. In 1998, Austin citizens voted to replace the facility with one of the largest APL branches to date. The new 15,000 square-foot facility opened in January 2004 as the Daniel E. Ruiz Branch, located at Riverside Drive and Grove Boulevard.
The St. John Branch of the Austin Public Library opened in January of 2002. The Branch is located within a community complex in the St. John neighborhood. The community complex also houses the J.J. Pickle Elementary School, a recreation center, gymnasium, health center, and a community policing sub-station. The 116,200 square-foot facility, was built as a partnership between AISD and the City of Austin, and serves as “one-stop center” for the area.
Although the Southeast Austin Community Branch first opened its doors to the public on February 28, 1998, it got its start back in the early 1990s. At that time area residents began working together to revitalize their community, which had seen a decline in living quality since the mid-80s. A grassroots community organization called SCAN (Southeast Corner of Austin Neighborhoods) was formed in 1993 to lobby City Hall for a number of much-needed services, including a library. These lobbying efforts, combined with steps taken by area activists, the Austin Public Library Commission, and the Austin Planning Commission, brought about the opening of a temporary library “room” in the Dove Springs Recreation Center in 1993. While this temporary space quickly became a vital part of the Center’s activities, citizens continued to work toward their dream of a community library that they could call their own. That dream finally began to materialize on the drizzly morning of November 23, 1996, when ground was officially broken on the Southeast Branch. In December 2010, the Branch underwent an extensive interior and exterior renovation that was completed in September 2011. The sidewalk leading from the parking lot to the accessible entrance was re-leveled to meet the standards of the American with Disabilities Act. Workers also replaced the double doors at the north entrance and installed security cameras and additional exterior lighting. The interior walls were repainted using an innovative palette of lively colors. Additionally, reading chairs were refurbished, and sustainable counter-tops were installed to create additional areas for laptop computer use. In keeping with the Library's commitment to green practices, the new Wi-Fi bar is made from 100% recycled paper that is as durable as granite. Now customers can work and learn in an open, collaborative setting, with a variety of work-spaces including counters, desk seating, computer workstations, and soft seating.
Although the Spicewood Springs Branch opened in far Northwest Austin on November 4, 1985, the Branch actually began in 1979 with the opening of the North Oaks Branch in the Lamar Savings building in the North Oaks Shopping Center. Operating from its small corner station in the bank lobby, the North Oaks Branch was soon circulating over 30,000 books annually. In 1985, in dire need of more space, the ‘lobby library’ was moved into two rooms on the second floor of the bank. While the new upstairs space improved matters greatly, the Branch would ultimately require a larger, more permanent facility in order to meet the growing needs of Northwest Austin. For years concerned citizens and neighborhood groups like the North Oaks Neighborhood Association had lobbied for a new, full-service branch in their area. Their efforts paid off when voters approved funds for a new branch in the September 1983 bond election. Construction began in February of 1985, and on November 4, 1985, the Spicewood Springs Branch opened for business.
Although the Terrazas Branch of the Austin Public Library opened its doors over 30 years ago on January 15, 1976, the Branch has a history that spans over 40 years. It began back in 1961 with the opening of the Pan-American Station in a small room within the Pan-American Recreation Center on E. Third Street. Then in 1969, having well outgrown its space at the Center, the Branch was moved to a 2,000 square-foot storefront facility at the corner of Canadian and E. First Streets, and renamed the Canadian Street Branch. Seven years later, the branch moved to its own, 5,400 square-foot building on E. César Chávez Street. The Branch was named “Terrazas” in honor of Henry S. Terrazas, a young Marine from East Austin who died in 1966 while fighting a forest fire.
What you will find at the Terrazas Branch:
- a meeting room
- a New Immigrant Center with computers and materials for to learn English and study for the US citizenship exam
- three Spanish speaking staff members
- outstanding collections of graphic novels for youth and adults
- a Teen Center Computer lab and regular programs for youth
- a large collection of books and audio-visual materials in Spanish for children and adults
- a large collection of DVDs for adults including classic films, cult favorites and recent releases
The current Twin Oaks Branch, located at the corner of South Fifth Street and West Mary Street, was built to replace the former Twin Oaks Branch, which was located in a lease space since its inception in 1956. Since 1992, the Branch had been in a 5,360 square foot storefront space in the Twin Oaks Shopping Center located near the intersection of South Congress Avenue and Oltorf Street. In the 1998 City of Austin General Obligation Bond Election voters approved the funding to build a permanent 10,000 square foot branch to serve this area of the city. The new Twin Oaks Branch opened in August of 2010. This modern and sustainable Branch, designed by Hatch + Ulland Owen Architects and built by Jamail & Smith Construction, features a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) template that incorporates recycled bricks for the exterior, recyclable carpeting and furniture fabrics, and a sophisticated lighting system that automatically dims when there is sufficient day light. The Branch is equipped with a rainwater harvesting system and a 25.2 kW solar energy system that generates about 32,760 kWh annually (power sufficient for about three standard sized homes). The building also includes 15 huge timber trusses made of reclaimed Douglas Fir which saved about 30 large trees. The Twin Oaks Branch interior design scheme earned a First Place Commercial Interior Design Award for Sustainable Design in 2010.
In looking at the University Hills Branch today, it’s hard to imagine that the original proposal to build the facility, which surfaced rather suddenly in 1983, could have stirred up as much controversy as it did. At that time, funds for a new Northeast Austin branch had already been approved through the 1982 bond election. But those funds were intended to go toward a permanent facility for the active Windsor Village Branch which had been operating out of leased space in the Windsor Village Shopping Center since 1963. Nevertheless, those plans began to change in 1983 when local developer Walter Carrington donated a piece of land to the City at the intersection of Loyola Lane and Springdale Avenue, land that could be used as a site for the new library. Though located in Northeast Austin, the donated land was a good distance away from the Windsor Village Branch which had been promised a building in their immediate vicinity. Understandably, the land issue quickly fired up debates among area citizens. The matter was finally put to rest on September 29, 1983 when the Austin City Council voted unanimously to accept the land donation as the site for the new library. Fortunately, all the dust surrounding the building issue had pretty much settled by August of 1986 when the new 8,000 square-foot University Hills Branch officially opened for business. A formal dedication ceremony was held for the branch on March 7, 1987.
The Willie Mae Kirk (Formerly Oak Springs) Branch opened its doors to the East Austin community on October 10, 1967. The Austin Public Library had worked for years to establish an East Austin library in addition to the Carver Branch which had served the area since 1933. The 10,000 square-foot Oak Springs (now Willie Mae Kirk) Branch was built with funds provided jointly by the City of Austin and the Texas State Library through the Federal Library Services and Construction Act. Designed by the architectural firm of Coates & Legge, the long and low building was outfitted with elevated glass panels to create an open and airy feeling on the inside.
There is a Connected Youth Teen Center for use of computers by young people ages 10 through 17.
Monday: Center Closed
Tuesday: 3:00-7:00 PM
Wednesday: 3:00 PM-8:00 PM
Thursday: Branch Closed
Friday: 2:00 PM-6:00 PM
Saturday: Center Closed
Sunday: Branch Closed
Although the Windsor Park Branch opened on July 15, 2000, the branch itself has a history in Northeast Austin that dates back nearly four decades. Library services to the area actually began in the late 1950s with bookmobile deliveries to the Windsor Village Shopping Center on Berkman Drive. This was followed in 1963 by the opening of the Windsor Village Station in a 2,000 square- foot retail site within the Center. But as the area grew, so did the need for a permanent, more spacious building. A proposal to build one failed in the 1966 bond issue, and though funds were approved in 1982 due largely to the lobbying efforts of the Windsor Park Neighborhood Association, the funds were used to build the University Hills Branch instead. Finally, in 1992, a bond issue passed, giving the go-ahead on 6 new branches and, in July of 2000, APL celebrated the grand opening of the Windsor Park Branch.
Although the Yarborough Branch located in the former Americana Theater building officially opened in January of 1999, it has a history in North Austin that spans over four decades and includes a rather lengthy series of incarnations. The Branch originally began in 1956 with the opening of the Northwest Branch at 5923 Burnet Road. It was then moved in 1964 to the Allandale Shopping Center and renamed the Allandale Branch. In 1981, having outgrown this space, it was relocated to property within the North Loop Center and was renamed the North Loop Branch. Finally in 1988, after a brief stint on North Loop West, the Branch was moved to a rental space at 2210 Hancock Drive where it remained until the Yarborough Branch opening in 1999. By request of one of the local neighborhood associations, the Branch was named in honor of the late U.S. Senator from Texas, Ralph W. Yarborough. Throughout its history, this Branch has always made a special effort to serve its large senior citizen population. In 1989, as the North Loop Branch, it received a grant to create the Walking Books program to deliver large print books to homebound customers. Two years later in 1991, the Branch received the G.K. Hall Large Print Community Service Award for its efforts. Although Walking Books is no longer a funded program, the Yarborough Branch continues to house the largest collection of large type books in the Austin Public Library system while also offering reading machines, both aural and magnifying, to its sight-impaired customers. The Yarborough Branch is well known for its collection of adult fiction books—particularly mysteries and short stories—as well as its history books, cookbooks, and its growing collection of books in Chinese for adults and children.