|Nesbitt Memorial Library
April 09, 2014
|About the Library|
The Nesbitt Memorial Library is the municipal library of the City of Columbus, Texas. It is named in honor of the family of Lee Quinn Nesbitt, who financed the construction of the building. The collection of the city's previous municipal library, the Mansfield Memorial Library, which was named in honor of Joseph Jefferson Mansfield, who provided the land for the building and its initial collection, was absorbed into that of the Nesbitt Memorial Library.
The Mansfield Memorial Library opened on March 2, 1948. The Nesbitt Memorial Library opened March 18, 1979. Less than a decade later, a major addition, paid for by Miss Nesbitt's estate, nearly doubled the size of the building, and added a special archival vault and Texas Room. The addition was formally opened on October 25, 1987.
The library is primarily supported by the City of Columbus,
Texas, but also by contributions from Colorado County, Texas, and from a private
foundation, the Nesbitt Memorial Library Foundation, Inc. Donations to the
foundation may be sent to the library.
The library is at 529 Washington Street in Columbus, Texas
(78934), across the street from the city's public elementary school and some two
blocks from the courthouse.
Hours of Operation
In a routine week, the library is open to the public for 52 hours. The library opens every Monday through Saturday at 9 a.m. It closes on Monday through Friday at 6 p.m., and on Saturday at 4 p.m. The library is closed every Sunday.
The library follows the City of Columbus holiday schedule, plus, should
any of the holidays fall on a Friday, the library will also be closed on
the following Saturday. The library is closed every Sunday. The
holiday schedule through December 2014: January 1 & 20, April 18
& 19, May 26, July 4 & 5, September 1, October 13, November 11, 27, 28 &
The library has three full time staff members. They are:
The library has a seven member advisory board established under the Ordinances of City of Columbus, Texas, Chapter 1 General Provisions, Article 1.10 Library, Division 2 Library Advisory Board. As of April 1, 2013, the members are: Tracey Wegenhoft (chairman), Kathy Cass (vice chairman), Jacob Truchard (secretary), Mary Mattingly, Chris Stein, Virgil Thompson, and Roger Wade.
(All Numbers Approximate as of 2013)
Any person who is more than six years old can become a patron
of the Nesbitt Memorial Library; that is, they can be issued a library card.
Persons who are less than eighteen years old may not obtain a library card
unless their parent or legal guardian assumes responsibility for them.
The library has fourteen public access computers, which provide
patrons access to the card catalog, the Internet, and various word processors,
games, etc. The library does have a WiFi environment.
The Friends of the Nesbitt Memorial Library is a dues-paying
organization without elected officers, bylaws, meetings, or duties. The dues
paid by members directly benefit the Nesbitt Memorial Library Foundation, Inc. Members
will receive invitations to and are guaranteed admission to events sponsored by the
Once a year the library conducts a public event with items it has culled from
its collection and items that were donated by the public, but not added to the
collection, available for a small donation. Donations from this event directly
benefit the Nesbitt Memorial Library Foundation, Inc.
The library has an ongoing supply of items it
has culled from its collection and items that were donated by the public, but not
added to the collection. These can be obtained for a small donation. The proceeds directly benefit the
Nesbitt Memorial Library Foundation, Inc.
|Symposia and Programs||
Since 1997, the Friends of the Nesbitt Memorial Library
have sponsored talks and book-signings by a number of authors and
historians, including Elmer Kelton, Randolph B. Campbell, Robert Flynn, Barry A. Crouch,
Susan Wittig Albert, Donaly
Brice, Leon Hale, James L. Haley, Stephen L. Hardin,
Judith Henry Wall, Bill Crider, Donley Watt, Charles
D. Spurlin, William C. Foster, Chuck Parsons, Bob Huffaker, Veva Vonler,
Charlene S. Ragsdale, William Clamurro, Michael Corcoran, Bill Crawford, Mike Cox, Wyman Meinzer,
and Gail Folkins.
The library's meeting room has 754 square feet of useable
floor space (26 x 29), plus a kitchenette, a video projector, large screen, and
sound system, a podium, a dry-erase board, and numerous tables and chairs. It
will accommodate about 70 people. It is available to groups or individuals whose
purposes are compatible with the library's mission, i.e., they are
informational, educational, cultural, or charitable in nature, provided those
groups agree to abide by the restrictions in the
Brief Rules for Use of the Meeting Room,
Application for Use of Meeting Room,
and the complete
Use of the Meeting Room
section of Library Policy.
In keeping with the wishes of Lee Quinn Nesbitt, the
library's donor and benefactor, the library places a strong emphasis on the
history, genealogy, literature, and culture of Texas and local residents. The
Texas Collection includes books and other printed material collected by Lee
Quinn Nesbitt and by the Colorado County Historical Commission. It was
greatly augmented with funds provided by the estate of Catherine Dumraese,
a Colorado County resident who died in 1981, and by donations of books from the
Shropshire-Upton Chapter, United Daughters of the Confederacy.
The Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library exists to collect, preserve, and make available for research, original source materials that are historically significant to Columbus, Colorado County, and the surrounding area. In the 1970s, the Colorado County Historical Commission established the Colorado County Archives, which was housed at the courthouse for most of its existence. In 1986, the facility was discontinued and the collection moved from the courthouse, with part of it being deposited in the Eula and David Wintermann Library in Eagle Lake and part of it in the Nesbitt Memorial Library. Since being established in 1987, the Archives of the Nesbitt Memorial Library has incorporated the genealogy and local history papers compiled by Lee Quinn Nesbitt and numerous documents and photographs from other Colorado County families.
The archives consists of documents, photographs, newspapers, various printed materials, maps, audio tapes, and video tapes. The archives does not include artifacts, furniture, clothing, or other items commonly considered to be museum pieces.
The archives has more than fifty collections of documents, more than 3000 photographs, copies (on microfilm or on paper) of every known extant issue of every known Colorado County newspaper, numerous local telephone books and school annuals, and dozens of maps of the county and its communities. The material in the archives is available for use only by request and only under the direct supervision of library staff.
From 1989 through 2001, the archives published the
Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, which
featured articles and other material directly relevant to Colorado County and
its history. In all, 37 issues of the journal were produced.
The library has the most comprehensive collection of
County genealogy materials, and a useful collection of genealogy materials
regarding Texas and the states of the southern United States. The collection
includes the census schedules for Colorado and the four surrounding counties
(Austin, Fayette, Lavaca, and Wharton), some
records, family files, and a number of land, military, and
The library is home to Lee Quinn Nesbitt's extensive
collection of dolls, which is on permanent display in the children's section. In
recent years, other persons, including Tracey Wegenhoft, Dorothy
Terry Ford, and Elizabeth Massey, have donated additional dolls to the collection. The collection now
boasts more than 200 dolls and doll related artifacts from the nineteenth and
|Art and Art Reproductions||
The library has a small collection of original art, including works by Porfirio Salinas, Kindred McLeary, and Paulina Van Bavel-Kearney. It also houses a collection of fine-art reproductions which are available for checkout.