Walking down Factory Street in Garland it’s easy to notice the beauty and the statuesque buildings that face the south and hold within them the history of Garland and the people that built a town that has seen its years of ups and downs.
This month the Leader will be publishing a series of stories celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the completion of the Garland City Library and the Garland LDS Tabernacle, two buildings that have withheld the test of time. Each building is a landmark in a town that once housed a sugar beet factory and a booming economy but mostly holds the history of so many individuals and their stories.
Before the Garland Library was built, residents of Garland had a small reading room in a local drug store in downtown Garland. The reading room wasn’t deemed fit for the community and in 1907 a meeting was held to propose the building of a new library in Garland. First, the town formed their first library board, then the board, along with the people of Garland, decided to tax themselves “two mills, the then maximum amount provided by law, for library purposes,” according to Barbara Buchanan’s book “Reflections of Garland.”
It was Andrew Carnegie, a huge financial contributor to free and public libraries across the United States, that helped fund the Garland Library in 1910. The residents continued to raise money through tax dollars and on June 1, 1911, construction on the library began. It took just over three years to complete the building. Carnegie’s generous donation of $8,000 helped speed up the building process.
The library was completed in August 1914, but before it was finished, the town held a book drive to help fill the shelves with new books. When the library first opened there were only about 350 books on hand but that number soon increased to over 1,000 books. By 1927, the shelves housed 4,692 books and 18 magazines, state newspapers and weeklies.
Read more about the Garland Library in this week’s and upcoming editions of the Leader.