By Elizabeth Brannon
The Flower Mound Public Library opened on November 19, 1985, in a donated house on Churchill Drive. On the first day of operation, 150 library cards were issued.
In 1993, the library was moved to an interim space in the newly-built Town Hall, at 2121 Cross Timbers. In 2000, a new, 25,000-square-foot library building opened in its current location at 3030 Broadmoor Lane. The library was renovated and expanded to 40,000 square feet in 2019–2020.
Residents who have visited the new space (approximately 300-400 per day) have been overwhelmed by the expanse and the wonderful new features, such as a teen space that is reserved for teens only, a café that will open after the pandemic and a fireplace for wintry weather.
Today, the library has 41,000 card holders and owns a total of 125,000 items, in both physical and digital formats.
The Flower Mound Public Library serves Flower Mound and Denton County. The library employs 16 full-time and 10 part-time employees, and in non-pandemic times, enjoys the services of many volunteers. The employees of the library are led by 35-year Flower Mound resident Sue Ridnour, Director of Library Services.
In November, which traditionally is Art Month by proclamation of the mayor, the Flower Mound Library normally hosts Art Party. Art Party has happened every year since 2015, and has consisted of LISD artwork on display, local singing groups performing, local artists sharing their works, celebratory refreshments, art activity tables for students to participate and a general good time celebrating the local arts and the library.
In 2020, Art Party offers a vastly different but pandemic-conscious experience. Currently, the library is hosting the art of LISD elementary school artists, and is available for the public to view through Friday, December 11, 2020. Art works by the older LISD students are on display at the Flower Mound Community Activity Center.
This year is not only the 35th anniversary of the library, but it’s the opening of the new and improved library; the ribbon cutting was earlier this month. Because of pandemic, there couldn’t be a large celebration to accompany the ribbon cutting. To address this, the library staff put together an activity card called 35 Days/35 Ways to Celebrate! If you haven’t picked up your activity card, you can download one at www.flower-mound.com.
The activity card has activities that highlight the features and history of the library, or introduce you to a service you haven’t tried before. Some activities allow you to experience the virtual library, and some will allow you to win a prize. Those prize -winning activities must be completed and submitted by December 6. The rest of the activities have no deadline. The activities will help you understand the history of the library and what it currently offers. Since people don’t want to overstay their time indoors, these activities give you socially-distant ways to enjoy the library, too.
Libraries across country have had to adapt to survive, and the Flower Mound Library is no exception. People need some sense of normal and to that end, our library offers virtual craft programs, virtual gaming (for teens) and virtual book club. Virtual attendance and participation are soaring and open to anyone.
Our library offers lots of DVDs and free streaming as a way to provide diverse movies that aren’t available on commercial streaming sites. With streaming services and digital content platforms, there is no need to come into the library. The library also offers BINGE BOXES. These boxes are 4 or 5 movies centered around a theme. The Binge Box counts as one checkout, and can be kept for three weeks. Residents can have five checkouts at any one time. The movies available have an emphasis on classics that are perennially popular.
For younger audiences, the library offers GRAB AND GO, 5–10 picture books on a topic like trains or dinosaurs. This service makes it easy for adults to grab books to checkout, streamlining the amount of time needed to be inside.
Another service is FIND YOUR NEXT READ, like a concierge service, and can be geared to children, teens and adults. It’s a very popular service of the library – a little like a personal shopper making suggestions and choices of what to read next.
The drive-through pickup window has high utilization as a second service point. Library card holders log on to the library website then log into their account. After selecting a choice from the online catalog, an item can be placed on hold. The library will send an email that items are ready. A simple call 30 minutes in advance of arriving at the drive through window will ensure the item is available at window.
Libraries have had to adapt from their beginnings. The first libraries consisted of archives of the earliest form of writing – the clay tablets in cuneiform script discovered in temple rooms in southern Mesopotamia (now southern Iraq) some dating back to 2600 BC.
The oldest library in the U.S. is the Darby Free Library which is located in Darby Pennsylvania, and has been in continuous use since 1743. Libraries stand as an ongoing gateway to the world, all without a high cost.
The Flower Mound Public Library is a shining star in the town, and if you haven’t experienced it yet, it’s time. Pandemic reality adaptations make the library experience safe, complete and easier than ever to have access to knowledge, the arts, and social interaction. Once the pandemic is in our rearview mirror, numerous programs are planned, including establishing a shelf dedicated to the works of local writers or books about local artists.
To learn more about these programs and more, visit the Flower Mound Library website.
Literary Art Thoughts: Reading gives us some place to go when we have to stay where we are.
Elizabeth Brannon serves on the Flower Mound Cultural Arts Commission.