"Houston Public Library" Top 5 Page for this destination Houston Off The Beaten Path Tip by msbrandysue

Houston Off The Beaten Path: 102 reviews and 122 photos

  Newly renovated
by msbrandysue

I love to read and I love libraries. Therefore, wherever I go I love to see the city's library!

Houston's has a great story behind it!

[Taken from their website]

"As early as 1837, one year after the Battle of San Jacinto, the Philosophical Society of Texas was organized, and one of its goals was to build a library. There were other proposals to start libraries made by various groups during the early years, but finally, in 1854, the Houston Lyceum was organized, mainly through the work of a Mr. Andrew Daly.

A lyceum's primary purpose was to bring culture to a community. Houston's Lyceum was formed with the intent of holding lectures, having discussions among members, and of most importance to us, to create a library. The present Houston Public Library can trace its history back to the founding of the Houston Lyceum in 1854.

The members of the group went to a private homes to solicit funds and collect any books that the homeowner might wish to give them. Senator Sam Houston was one of the many who donated books to the Lyceum. Neither women nor children were members of the Lyceum. It was created solely for men.

The first home for the Lyceum's collection was in the then Harris County Court House building. The organization got off to a good start; during the first year the Lyceum collected 88 volumes and $17.50. In September of 1854 they bought their first bookcase. During these early years, the Lyceum was totally supported by dues, subscriptions, and donations.

Some of the early lectures that the Lyceum sponsored included "Meteorology and the Cause and Law of Storms." Debates argued topics ranging from, "Did the whole human family descend from the same parentage?" to "Are women capable of the same mental improvement as men?"

In 1887, women were allowed to join the Lyceum as full voting members, and in 1895, it was decided that anyone living in the City could borrow materials from the collection if they paid $3.00 per year.

An historical marker was placed outside the Julia Ideson Building in 1971 commemorating the Houston Lyceum and the Public Library. "

Right across the street from the library you will find the former library with the historical marker in front of the building.

Phone: 832-393-1313
Website: http://www.houstonlibrary.org/about/index.html

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Jun 22, 2008
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