Fannie Brown Booth Memorial Library
History of the Fannie Brown Booth Library
Fannie Brown Booth was a beloved teacher in area schools. Her brother was George R. Brown, a successful Houston businessman and co-founder of Brown and Root Construction Company. In 1969, her son, Brown Booth, a Timpson native, became aware of and interested in the need for a library building in Shelby County. Fannie Brown Booth passed away in 1971 and her brother George resolved to have a library in her honor.
Prior to 1968, the Shelby County library was housed in the old jail building on the square, and in 1968, it was moved to a house on Pecan Street. A grant of $76,000 in 1973 from the Brown Foundation in Houston and a $38,000 contribution from the City of Center enabled a group to break ground for a new building.
The library was designed by Raiford Stripling, a San Augustine native and Texas A&M graduate. Mr. Stripling’s portfolio of buildings spans the restoration of historical buildings to numerous libraries across the state.
The Fannie Brown Booth Library has served Shelby County residents at its present site on Tenaha Street in Center since 1974.
The library was renovated in 2003-2004 and continues to be a great place to visit. The grounds and building are maintained by the City of Center under the supervision of the City Manager and City Council.
In 2009, the library housed nearly 16,000 books and audio/visual materials. Six computers allow for public internet access and additional computers can be accessed for work processing and library circulation searches. Non-profit civic organizations use the library’s Redditt Room as a meeting facility. The room is also used for numerous library events and is still maintained by Redditt family members.
During the summer, the library sponsors a children’s reading program, which includes professional performances by magicians, puppeteers, animal trainers, and storytellers.
The Fannie Brown Booth Library is a member of the Texas State Library Association and the Houston Area Library System. The library became a TexShare library in 2001. TexShare allows card holders access to databases and other library’s resources at no cost. In addition, the library can provide materials through the interlibrary loan program, which can access materials in all participating libraries throughout Texas.Courtesy of the FBB Library