Our History

Diane Galloway Volunteers of the Year

The Friends of the University Park Public Library founded the library in 2000 and joined in partnership with the City of University Park in 2011, when the first permanent home of the library was built. The collaboration between the City and the Friends has been recognized with the 2013 Municipal Excellence Award in Management Innovations by the Texas Municipal League.

Friends board members and volunteers devote over 5,000 hours per year to serve as officers, directors, fundraisers, program and event planners, shelvers, shelf readers, and aides to library staff. As partners with the UP Public Library, we are committed to raising critical funds, providing trained volunteers, and offering a variety of educational and engaging programs for the community.

The Friends of the UPPL shares a unique responsibility with the City of UP in the financial support of the library. We are committed to ongoing fundraising to support a significant portion of the library’s annual operations. Through annual Friends memberships, fundraising events, grants, corporate and community partnerships, sponsorships, and leadership and foundation gifts, the Friends relies on our community to partner with us to meet this annual financial commitment.

January 2020 marked the 7th anniversary of the UPPL in its permanent home in The Plaza at Preston Center.

1950 - 1986

Early efforts are initiated to develop a public library for the City of University Park,one of the largest U.S. cities without a public library.


Cub Scouts raise $4,000 to begin to fund a University Park Library.


1989   The Friends are incorporated as The Friends of the Library for the Park Cities in the hope that Highland Park and University Park would join together in developing a library to serve both HP and UP.


1992   The Friends receive a determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service that shows the Friends is an organization qualified under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and that donors may deduct contributions to the Friends.


$300,000 is raised to begin a capital campaign for a library facility.  The Pioneer 200, a group of dedicated supporters, is founded and contributes to the capital campaign.


La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas makes its initial contribution to support the opening, operating, and equipping of the library. La Fiesta has made a contribution every year thereafter.


Albert Huddleston, former Friends Board member, leases to the Friends a home in a 5,500 square-foot former law office in the Chase Bank Building on Hillcrest Avenue for $1.25 per year.


Four Girl Scouts collect books from citizens, and the “Book Bank” is born as University Park’s first library.  The University Park Book Bank celebrates its grand opening on June 7, 2001.  Open four hours per week, the Book Bank is staffed by volunteers and furnished with donated books.


University Park City Council grants funds for a professional librarian, and the library is now open 20 hours per week and achieves state accreditation.  First Lady Laura Bush accepts the position as Honorary Chairman.


The name of the Friends changes to the Friends of the University Park Public Library.


A full-time Children’s Librarian is hired with funding from La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas, and hours expand to 41 hours per week.  The Friends continues to operate the library with annual grants from the City of University Park and generous contributions from UP residents, La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas, and other charitable organizations including the Summerlee, Hoblitzelle, and Harry W. Bass, Jr. Foundations.


The City of University Park and the Friends of the University Park Public Library enter into a public/private partnership agreement, effective January 1, 2012.

The City of University Park and the owners of The Plaza at Preston Center enter into a non-cash transaction in which the street and alley rights-of-way in The Plaza at Preston Center will be exchanged for a permanent library space owned by the City.

The library moves into interim space in the City’s Peek Service Center on Worcola Street in preparation for the move to its permanent home in The Plaza at Preston Center.

Pursuant to the 2011 partnership agreement between the City and the Friends, the library becomes a City department, with benefits to employees.  The Friends undertakes to provide half of the $600,000 initial annual cost of operating the library, as well as continue to provide volunteers to assist in staffing the library.  The City hires Sharon Perry Martin, MLS, as Library Director.


On January 26, 2013, the library opens in its new permanent location on the second floor and part of the third floor of a new, five-story office tower in The Plaza at Preston Center.  The second floor houses the 17,000+ square-foot library, and the Community Meeting Room occupies 2,000 square feet of space on the third floor.  The City acquires the condominium interest in the second-floor space and a 50-year prepaid lease on the third-floor space.  The developers provide $50 per foot for the facility finish-out, and the City, with a donation from the Estate of Mattie Caruth Byrd, provides the remainder of finish-out and furnishings. 

A historic Grand Opening Day ceremony includes messages from former First Lady (and librarian) Laura Bush and Representative Dan Branch.  The library is staffed by three full-time professional librarians and is open to patrons 44 hours per week.  The library serves all residents of University Park and Highland Park Independent School District.

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