DIBOLL, TX (KTRE) - A need for a library in Diboll was recognized more than 50 years ago by Arthur Temple, Jr who knew readers needed a place to enjoy reading. Today, that same library that was built for the community has expanded and is celebrating 50 years of service.
What began with 1,200 books and a few square feet has expanded into this 14,108 square foot library you see today.
"In 1961, Latane Temple and Arthur Temple secured a 10 by 10 small white building and they put it over in what we call the village," said library director Brenda Russell.
Within three years a new $150,000 all glass and wood building opened to the public.
"At that time that was a lot of money," Russell said. "The Temple family secured a lot of it and then we had a federal grant. The people in the mills gave a dollar of their paycheck every week for nearly three years and that's what was so exciting because it became a community effort."
More expansions were added in 1981 to the north wing, then in 1985 the archives building was opened.
Less than 10 years ago the library board raised $2 million to expand and meet the community's needs.
"We're limited on space and we have a very large youth group, and we're in the process building a new church," Cheryl Blancet said. "They allow our youth to come and have their Wednesday night services, which you can't find a lot of places that will do that."
For the past 37 years, library director Brenda Russell has experienced the growth of the library and enjoyed meeting the needs of people.
"We moved here from Livingston but this library exceeds anything that we experienced in Livingston," Blancet said. "For such a small town they have a lot to offer."
This year Temple Inland was bought by Georgia Pacific but Russell said residents shouldn't be worried because the TLL Temple Memorial Library will not change.
"We're managing and we always find new resources," Russell said. "That's what we're doing and we're going to prosper; we're going to be fine."
Friday, the library will host an open house to celebrate 50 years. Everyone in the community is welcome to come from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.