• By Raegen Luntz
  • Posted Friday, December 3, 2021

Lewisville Branch Library Celebrates 50+ Years

The story of library service in Lewisville is a story of community vision, spirit, and participation. Years before the Forsyth County Public Library established a sub-branch in Lewisville in 1970, the community had started soliciting support for a public library. In 1945, the women of the Lewisville Home Demonstration Club raised funds from bake sales and Stanley Brush parties to set up and run the Lewisville Volunteer Library. In 1953, the FCPL Bookmobile expanded service to the Lewisville community. A grassroots community campaign led by Renie Miner in 1969 requested a library branch from FCPL and the Forsyth County Board of Trustees. That dream finally became a reality on Friday, Dec. 11, 1970 when the Lewisville sub-branch of FCPL opened on the side porch of the Sunny Acres Civic Center. The collection held a total of 3,000 books. (photo below)

In this photo Mrs. Dorothy Holder teaches a crochet class at the new Lewisville Sub-branch in the early 1970s. This program was only one of many that the library offered the community in the early days. Other programs included children’s storytimes, art shows, and Red Cross home nursing classes. With the support and leadership of Mr. Paul Ballance, director of FCPL, the members of the Lewisville Civic Club, led by Jack Miner, and the support of the Lewisville Jaycees, a 600-square-foot area on the side porch of the Sunny Acres Civic Center was remodeled for use. This site was located where the Oaks at Lewisville Shopping Center is today. The library was run by Mrs. Nell Hege McBride and the hours of operation were Monday-Friday from 1-5 p.m. (photo below)

This photo shows the Lewisville Branch at its second location—the Lewisville Plaza Shopping Center—where it operated for 30 years (1977-2007). By the 1970s the library had grown and more space was needed. In March of 1977, under FCPL Director Mr. William H. Roberts, and with the cooperation of Mr. Lanier Williams, owner of the new location, the branch moved t0 2,000 square feet of space in the newly constructed Lewisville Plaza Shopping Center building. Hours of operation were expanded to 44 per week and a full-time staff member, Nancy Davis, was added. Circulation and registration of new members more than doubled in this time. Once more, the citizens of Lewisville, led by the Shallowford Lakes Civic Club, asked for more library hours and services. To answer that call, Laura Robbins was hired in 1983 as the first professional librarian. Robbins began a full program of children’s services. In 1984 the building was expanded to 4,000 square feet which provided room for an auditorium, storage area, staff lounge, and office space. The budget for books also increased and the Lewisville Branch was considered a full-service branch. This same year Robbins led the organization of the Friends of the Lewisville Library group. In October of 1984, the library welcomed its second professional librarian, Merrikay Brown, who added adult programming services and expanded the collection with audiovisual materials. (photo below)

This photo from 1996 shows the Lewisville Branch’s first full-time youth services librarian, Jenny Barrett Boneno (then Jenny Barrett), leading a storytime. Boneno's position and that of a half-time library assistant were added in 1995 to keep up with a significant increase in circulation. In addition to increased staff, more computers were added for public use. The Lewisville Branch had become the highest circulating of the four small branches in the library system. (photo below)

In 1996, the first mayor of the new Town of Lewisville, Hank Chilton, and the Lewisville Town Council proposed a plan for acquiring land for a new library building. This land would be donated to Forsyth County. The site for a new stand-alone library building was located on land near the Lewisville Elementary School on Shallowford Road. The project would take the concerted efforts of two more mayors, Bob Stebbins and Mike Horn, the Friends of the Lewisville Library, and another 11 years to become a reality. Finally, in July 2006, the ground was broken for a new Lewisville Branch building. At the completion of construction the following year the branch closed for the month of November to move in and set up. After all the books were tagged and shelved, the furniture and equipment put in place, and everything was ready, the happy day finally came. The dedication ceremony of the new 15,000 square foot Lewisville Branch building took place on Nov. 29, 2007 at 11 a.m. Over 300 citizens, State Library officials, library staff and administration, county and town officials turned out for the ceremony. Since there were 300 people present, the ceremony had to be moved from the auditorium to the main part of the library. (photo below)

Today, the long-awaited Lewisville Branch’s third location has become a well-used and well-loved institution in the Lewisville community. Its many large windows show off the beauty of the Shallowford Square Park, the stately historic Laugenour House across Shallowford Road (built by the town’s founder in 1860), and the attractive Lewisville Town Hall across Lucy Lane to its west. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and innovative, the atmosphere is inviting and comfortable, and there is plenty of meeting space for community projects. It is truly a hub of activity and the heart of the town. The Branch’s story tells the history of the Lewisville community, as well as shows the pride and spirit of involvement of its citizens. And on the 51st Anniversary—Dec. 11, 2021-- of the Lewisville Branch Library, the library will continue to serve the citizens well for generations to come. (photo below)

Photos and information courtesy of the Lewisville Historical Society.

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