Library History

A Need for a Public Library

"It was said, 'If you want something done, let the Grange do it'" ("Boerne Grange #1545," "Agricultural Societies: Grange 1545," file, Historical / Genealogical Research Room, Boerne Public Library). For the Boerne Public Library, that old saying rings true. The Grange, "a fraternal family-oriented farm organization with roots in rural communities all across America" ("Boerne Grange 1545"), has a long tradition of community service, and the Boerne chapter, 1545, started in 1941 and has been exemplary in following that tradition.

In the fall of 1951, the Boerne Grange, realizing that a growing community needs free and easy access to information, decided to start a public library at the suggestion of Mrs. A. J. Theis, affectionately known as Aunt Jessie. Mrs. Theis had a keen interest in the arts and education; in fact, she was a painter, taught in local schools for more than 30 years, and led a Girl Scout troop.

The Boerne City Council agreed with the Grange: "The City Council last week acknowledged the city's need for a public library, to three members of a committee from the Boerne Grange, which sought a building to house Boerne's first library. Harry Grosser, Mrs. Jessie Theis and Mrs. Henry Moss appeared before Mayor Clarence Dietert and councilmen Monday night of last week" ("Boerne Grange Asks Public Library," Comfort News, October 18, 1951).

The Beginning of a Library

"So in this small room in the Fire Station, Grange members with saws, hammers, odd pieces of lumber and great enthusiasm, started and soon opened the Library"

Source: Kendall County Historical Commission, Rivers, Ranches, Railroads and Recreation: A History of Kendall County, Texas, Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, 1984, p. 23

"It was a chilly night in the fall of 1951 in a bare cold room adjacent to the fire station where they met. It was the only vacant room the City had to offer. They had no funds but there was a need. Boerne needed a public library! Farmers are pretty good carpenters. Their housewives are fair painters. Nearly everybody had a few pieces of scrap lumber. So the bare room in January, 1952, transformed by freshly painted shelves containing 400 donated books, opened formally as the Boerne Public Library with a staff of volunteer Grange librarians (among them, Mrs. Theis)."

Source: "Current Operation of and New Home for the Library," Boerne Grange 1545, October 1, 1963 - September 1, 1965

"The north half of the building on the Plaza, formerly occupied by the AAA, has been leased to the Boerne Grange to house the Boerne Public Library. As soon as possible after the task of building the shelving and cataloging the books is complete, we will open and announce the days on which it will open permanently. This service will be free to the community, and will provide some each of reference books, children's books and novels. It will be staffed with voluntary personnel, willing if not expert, and we hope will grow from a small beginning as it satisfies the need of the public."

Source: "Boerne Grange Sponsors Public Library," Boerne Star, October 25, 1951

"The new venture is being started on a shoe string and an abundance of faith, plus diligence."

Source: "Boerne to Have Public Library," Boerne Star, November 8, 1951

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