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The Andrew Carnegie Library had it's formal opening in Winnsboro, Texas in 1909. The library, however, did not open the doors for official service until 1910.

The Standard Club of Winnsboro opened and operated the library for the first eight months. After the first eight months, the City of Winnsboro took over the operation of the library with Ms. T.U. Bozeman as the first librarian. To date, the city continues to support the library and provide monies for books and operating expenses.

The quality of the books at that time was limited to donations and hand-me downs. To say it was poor would be an exaggeration. Over the years, different clubs and organizations have contributed greatly to the addition of books, periodicals, and videocassettes for the library.

In 1967, the library moved to a new building on West Broadway. It was with mixed feelings, as many loved the historical landing being left behind. The town, however, took great pride in knowing the new library had been built entirely with city funds. No bond election had to be held and no state, county or federal funds were used in its completion. This was just the beginning of what was to be a rapid growth of the library.

Interest in a new and larger library was peaked with a $60,000 bequeath in 1985 from the estate of Fern Gilbreath. In December of 1985, Judge T.C. Chadwick, former resident and retired associate judge of the Supreme Court, donated a lot for the new library at 916 N. Main.

The City of Winnsboro began a massive fundraiser. Soon, everyone was astounded when the funds reached $687,000.00.  In May of 1986, the city received a $100,000.00 grant through the LSCA Title II grant program. Out of thirty applicants, Winnsboro was number three.  In September 1986, construction began on the beautiful 6,000 square foot building that was to be known as the Gilbreath Memorial Library. The entire town watched as a dream was rapidly becoming a reality.

The library then received a grant from the North East Texas Library System for a new computer system.  With the donation of a copy machine by Lee Ray, the office began to look official.

Buford and Rachel Folmar donated a hand built, three piece train for the children's section. This has become a landmark for children of all ages to sit, read, and dream.

Gilbreath Memorial Library serves a tri-county area of Wood, Hopkins, and Franklin counties. In 1997, the library circulated over 62,800 items and then in 2001 the library set a record high of 75,926 of circulated items. We are now a member of TexShare through the Texas State Library which allows qualifying patrons to borrow from other Texas libraries with a Winnsboro based card. Also, we are members of the Lone Star program which allows any resident of Texas who meets the basic requirements for getting a library card to use Gilbreath Memorial.

The library is one of the busiest places in the city with our patron count nearing 7,000. The library is made up of two full-time staff members and a host of volunteers. As members of the North East Texas Library System, we not only receive funding but also continuing education as well as valuable advisement and consulting.

Our goal through Gilbreath Memorial Library is to continue to grow and maintain the needs of our community.

 
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Copyright 2002 Gilbreath Memorial Library
Last modified: 04/23/2003