Friends of Tyler’s Public Library Join Forces to Preserve the Past | Local News


The third floor of the Tyler Public Library contains unique pieces of the city’s history that the organizers of a new project aim to protect.

Last month, the Friends of Tyler Public Library launched the Protect Pieces of the Past project to raise funds focused on preserving books, magazines, newspapers and other items in the Local History Hall and genealogy library. The area also contains computers where anyone can access for free to research their family’s past.

The group’s goal with the project is to raise $ 40,000 to set up means to protect genealogical and historical records as well as rare books from damage that may occur due to sun, humidity, insects and d ‘limited storage. Funding is expected to be in place next month.

Friends of Tyler’s Public Library chair Fran Cooper said the local history and genealogy room was extremely important for several reasons, including because it contains information that is still not available online.

“Rare books and original manuscripts tell us about the beginnings of the town’s history – who was here and how we have changed over time. These documents need a highly regulated environment, which they don’t currently have, ”said Cooper. “New space-saving shelving systems can keep these valuable library collections at optimum temperature, humidity and airflow.

A “modest” model showed that new shelving could create an additional 200 square feet or more of floor space while providing a three-year return on investment.

The project will be funded by grants and donations. Friends of the Tyler Public Library also recently received a donation of stock from Mary Boyd La Tourette’s estate, according to Cooper, part of which will go to the Protect Pieces of the Past project.

In October, the Friends hosted a benefit evening at the library, where members and guests heard from internationally renowned author Joe Lansdale, a silent auction and the raffle for a quilt donated by Treasurer Millie Wester.

“The community has been incredibly generous in donating to the silent auction. Funds from this event support library projects, ”Cooper said.

Among the collection of items that the program will protect are the Tyler and John Tyler High School yearbooks dating from the first in 1909, the remaining books from the first 150 volumes that were purchased for the original Carnegie Public Library, the Ella Collection Reid from the Negro Public Library and hundreds of LIFE magazines from 1938.

“When these important documents and information are lost, you lose your local histories. You can’t uncover and analyze clues from the past, ”Cooper said.

Reference associate Jammer Smith said he couldn’t be happier with the project.

“It will be new life for these materials, and I am delighted to see them attracting attention,” he said. “The history of the library is in these documents, and local historians will now have easier access to a wealth of information about the early Tylers.”

A fellow reference librarian, Rozanna Bennett, said the project is integral not only to looking back, but to the future as well.

“We are a proud community with a great history. We are working to preserve the past, so that we can see where we have been, where we are and where we will grow up, ”she said.

There is also a modern element to protecting pieces of the past. Friends would like to provide a subscription to the original military records that include the stories, photos and personal documents of the men and women who served. The subscription is an additional $ 3,000 to the library’s current subscription to

Friends of the Tyler Public Library board member Beth Shepperd said adding the membership was very exciting for her.

“I would love to see my great-grandfather’s civil war file, but I couldn’t find it. Most online genealogy services are very expensive. It will be amazing to have this information available to our entire community, ”Shepperd said.

For more information on the Protect Pieces of the Past Project or Friends of the Tyler Library, visit

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