Nesbitt Memorial Library
Columbus, Texas

Last Updated April 09, 2014
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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.

 
Financing 

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.
 

Location 

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.

Holidays 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 & 29, December 25.
 
Staff

The library has three full time staff members. They are:

 

Advisory Board 

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.

 

Statistics
(All Numbers Approximate as of 2013)
  • Building Size, in Square Feet 9,420

  • Number of Card Holders 7,200

  • Annual Circulation 50,000

  • Number of Items in Collection 43,000

  • Number of Non-Fiction Books 14,000

  • Number of Fiction Books 7,000

  • Number of Children's Books 12,000

  • Number of Audiobooks 1,000

  • Number of Large Print Books 600

  • Number of Videotapes 70

  • Number of DVDs 1,800

  • Number of Music CDs 1,000

 

Library Cards 

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.

Persons who can demonstrate that they are bona fide residents of Texas may obtain a library card at no charge. Other persons may obtain a library card by paying a one-time only, non-refundable fee of $10.
 

Electronic Resources 

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.
 

Friends 

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 Friends.
 

Book Event 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.
 
Used Books 

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 E. 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.

In 2001, the Friends conducted the first annual Lee Quinn Nesbitt Symposium on Texas History and Culture, which featured T. R. Fehrenbach, Wolfram M. Von-Maszewski, and Joe Tom Davis. The second symposium, in 2002, brought Robert Flynn, James L. Haley, and Jean Flynn to the library. The third symposium, in 2003, featured talks on subjects connected to the Texas Rangers by Robert M. Utley, Paul N. Spellman, Harold J. Weiss, James C. Kearney, Chuck Parsons, and Allen G. Hatley. The fourth, in 2004, featured talks on the ethnic history of Texans by the general editor and some of the authors of the Texans All series, including James M. Smallwood, Allan O. Kownslar, Phyllis McKenzie, and Sara Massey.

Since 2003, the library has conducted a tour of one of two local cemeteries. The tour, known as Live Oaks and Dead Folks, has evolved into the library's most successful and most famous event.
 

Meeting Room 

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.
 

Special Collections
Texas Collection 

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 library's Texas Collection contains about 4000 books, about half of which are incorporated into the circulating section of the library and half of which are classified as reference material and shelved in the Texas Room. Some extremely rare or poor condition books are stored in the archival vault, and are accessible only by request and only under the direct supervision of library staff.
 

Archives

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.
 

Genealogy Collection 

The library has the most comprehensive collection of Colorado 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 local church records, family files, and a number of land, military, and immigration records.

In 1987, the library began locating and cataloging the cemeteries of Colorado County. A list of all persons known or suspected to have been buried in Colorado County, together with a description of all identified cemeteries and burial sites, can be found elsewhere on this website.
 

Doll Collection 

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 Albrecht, 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 twentieth centuries.
 

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.