History of the Pasadena Public Library
Attorney Arthur E. Dawes felt a need to bring books and the opportunities books provide to the rural communities surrounding Houston. His efforts and encouragement brought about the Harris County Library System. In the fall of 1920, the plans for the system were on the drawing board. The first budget allotted by the county for the fiscal year 1921 was $6,500. Miss Lucy Fuller became the Harris County Library System’s first librarian in May 1921. Within six months of operation, there existed twenty-six library stations recording in the annual report a circulation of 19,574 with a volume of 3,455 books.
The libraries in the cities of Pasadena and Moonshine Hill were added to the growing total of forty-one library stations in the one year old system. A library station housing one hundred books in a room in Pasadena High School opened in April 1922. The new Pasadena library shared the system budget in 1922 of $12,000. The first year’s report showed a circulation of 1,511 books and at least six visits by the county library director. Until 1935, the county staffed these library stations with “volunteer custodians” who were usually teachers. This was a natural progression since most of the library stations were housed in public schools.
In the summer of 1923, the Pasadena Library moved to a new location in a steel locker in the lobby of the main Post Office on Shaw under the direction of Mrs. S.E. Larkin. Clinton Wanger was to be in charge when the library was open on Thursdays from three to five in the afternoon. The newly moved library circulated 2,263 books during 1923. In 1924, the Pasadena Library requested reading lists from the county library for youth books to be used by teachers and principals. The first records (1925) indicating earnings for the Pasadena volunteer custodians show that the Pasadena Parent Teacher Association “agreed to pay a small sum as salary for the Pasadena librarian”. Between the summer of 1923 and 1930, the Pasadena Library was for a time housed in the Masonic building. Mrs. Ethel Hargrave became librarian in 1926, and the staff included Mrs. Marguerite Wolf, the branch supervisor. Circulation rose from 1,734 books in 1926 to 6,089 books in 1929.