By Norma Hallmark

The Allen Memorial Public Library in Hawkins, TX is having an Open House to celebrate the revitalization of the library. In 2018, the Library was awarded a $52,000 grant from the Tocker Foundation, a private foundation that supports and grants money to rural Texas Libraries.

Since that time, we have actively been working to update, modernize and bring the library into the 21st century. We have achieved what we believe is a more warm, colorful and inviting atmosphere for everyone. There is now a wonderful children’s room with a modern kitchen, Lego activity center, comfortable seating and a spacious computer area. The main library has been updated to include private computer stations, a cool teen area, a comfortable sitting/reading area, and the Pamela “PJ” McKenzie Community Room where people can relax with a cup of coffee from our new coffee bar, read, or meet with friends. We have a beautiful front desk made by Texas Wood Mill Cabinets of Hawkins.

None of this would have been possible without a great team. Sarah Baker and Sarah Keith, two of the Library Board members, wrote the grant (with a little help from the Director). John and Toni Flynn have done all the bright and beautiful painting you will see the moment you walk through the doors. John Flynn is our other Board Member and Toni Flynn is a long-time volunteer who coordinates our wonderful children’s Summer Reading Program. There are two gorgeous paintings that are true conversation pieces that were painted and donated by artist Karen Stanton. Patrons Pat and Linda Allaire generously donated a Keurig for our coffee bar.

Ann Reynolds, Patty Bynum and other volunteers from Wood County Master Gardener’s Club have further beautified our flower beds, helping to make the outside appearance more attractive. Special thanks to Denelle Wrightson, Library and Planning Designer, for her valuable insight and guidance to making our library a better place.

However, none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for Darryl Tocker, Karin Gerstenhaber, and the Committee Members of the Tocker Foundation who chose our library to be the recipient of this grant. We worked hard to show them that it was needed to keep our library a vital resource for the community. We are so grateful that they could see the need and shared our belief that what we are trying to do for the community is worthwhile. Those who are regular patrons to the library have seen the transition. So much positive feedback has been forthcoming. If you haven’t been here, we encourage everyone to come to our Open House and see what we have to offer the community. For any questions or information, please call (903) 769-2241.