The Westbank Library was created in 1983 when a determined and spirited group of 65 Westbank citizens, led by Doris Walcutt and Eleanor Drake, decided that their quality of life and educational growth would be greatly enhanced by the presence of a library. Initially the Library operated as a non-profit with no regular source of income, relying on donations and volunteerism.
It was originally housed in the Texas Commerce Bank on Walsh Tarlton Road in southwest Austin. With donations from individuals, corporations, and foundations, plus thousands of volunteer hours, the current library on Westbank Drive was built and dedicated in 1989.
This changed on January 17, 1998, when the Westbank voters created the first library district in the state of Texas with an 84% approval rate! Starting in December 1998, the Library is now able to rely on a stable source of funding through area sales tax receipts of 0.5%. The laws governing Library Districts may be found in the Texas Statutes Chapter 326.
By early February 1998, the newly elected Trustees formed a Building Committee and started planning for a building addition which would triple the size of the existing facility allowing the library to provide better service to the community. A dedication celebration for the new building was held on November 12, 2000.
Westbank Community Library has continued its enormous popularity and growth since moving into the expanded building. With over 250,000 visitors and 500,000 checkouts a year, the expanded building soon was beyond capacity in parking, shelving, usage, and study space. When Texas Research International generously donated 10 acres of land, the Westbank Community Library began to realize the dream of building a branch library. The Laura Bush Community Library, located on the southeast corner of Bee Caves Road and Cuernavaca Drive, was completed in July, 2009. Current visitor numbers exceed 360,000 per year, with library circulation nearing 750,000 annually.
Westbank Library Mission Statement
Our mission is to inform, enlighten, entertain, enrich, empower, inspire, and engage the community.
Specifically, the Westbank Libraries will:
- Provide every visitor with exemplary, friendly, professional service
- Empower library users with access to a diverse, balanced, current, well-organized collection in a variety of formats, both physical and digital
- Delight visitors of all ages with programming and activities that will enrich their lives
- Promote community involvement and pride through partnership with our outstanding volunteers
- Establish the library as the heart of our community by nurturing community conversations and connections
- Provide access to innovative technology and knowledgeable assistance in its use
- Create a welcoming and appealing environment with minimal rules
- Empower users with around-the-clock access to electronic resources and services
- Anticipate and respond to changing community needs
- Engage area schools, community groups, and businesses in partnerships
- Demonstrate exceptional stewardship of community funds and assets
- Inspire staff and volunteers with a dynamic, rewarding, and cooperative atmosphere