Tarkington Community Library looking toward new building purchase

Tarkington Community Library Founder Ruth Stetson shows the damage that termites have done to the library.

By Vanesa Brashier, editor@bluebonnetnews.com

Tarkington Community Library has launched a building fund to replace the old log cabin that has served as the library since it was founded 15 years ago.

The move to replace the library comes after the library received thousands of unwanted patrons – termites.

According to Library Founder Ruth Stetson, the insects have damaged the back wall of the library to the extent that the building must be replaced.

On Saturday, Jan. 26, Stetson and the library board held an invitation-only fundraiser to share news of the building’s condition with the community.

“One hundred people were invited. Some are the usual donors to the library,” Stetson said.

After taking a tour of the facilities, guests enjoyed a meal at Tarkington Intermediate School.

“We also wanted to tell the people who have been backing us for 15 years how much we appreciate their support,” said Librarian Kay Cook.

Many of the supporters have backed the library since the buildings were first moved onto the property at 3032 FM 163.

“This library was built on volunteers. I located the buildings and we worked and raised $10,000 to get the buildings moved. The house movers originally wanted $20,000 but they donated their work to the library, too,” Stetson said.

With approximately 10,000 books and an upstairs section for historical artifacts in the present library, a new building will need to be comparable in size.

Chris Nunn peers into a computer displaying old articles written about Tarkington Community Library while Ruth Stetson looks on.

“We have set up a building fund at Prosperity Bank in Cleveland. Anyone who wants to support the library can go to their bank and have the funds directed to the building fund at Prosperity Bank. If they want to just donate $25 a month to Tarkington Community Library, they should be able to set it up that way,” Stetson said.

The library received a Tocker Foundation grant recently to convert its manual check-out system to an automated computer system.

“We have applied for a Tocker Foundation grant for playground equipment, but I don’t know if Tocker will help us with our building. We are hoping that by raising funds through this fundraiser that we can get started in that direction,” Stetson said.

The library also has established a Friends of the Library with annual dues varying from $60 to $120 per month. The money can help offset library expenses such as utilities and maintenance.

“I think it would be amazing if we could get members of the community to help us pay the library’s electric bill,” Cook said.

Electric service to the log cabin library is approximately $500 per month. Service to the adjoined meeting room, which is rented to the community for gatherings, is around $300 per month, according to Stetson.

For more information on the Friends of the Library or the building fund, call Tarkington Community Library at 281-592-5136 or stop by the library. Hours are 12 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 12 to 7 p.m. on Monday, and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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