Johnston Branch Library turns 30 – help us celebrate!
This Saturday, June 18, newly elected District 4 City Councilman Rey Saldaña will join poet Naomi Shihab Nye, Library officials, and members of the Johnston family to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Johnston Branch Library, 6307 Sun Valley. The ceremony will kick off at 2:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
In addition to Councilman Saldaña’s remarks, the program will include a reading by Naomi Shihab Nye, author of You and Yours and 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East; remarks by Carter Johnston, grandson of the branch library’s namesake Leah Carter Johnston; and readings by Young Pegasus poets.
The emphasis on poetry during the anniversary ceremony is a tribute to Leah Carter Johnston, for whom the library was named. Ms. Johnston was the San Antonio Public Library’s first children’s services librarian, serving in that capacity from 1922 to 1955. During her tenure, in 1927, she began the San Antonio Public Library’s Young Pegasus Poetry Awards, designed to recognize and reward the work of young authors up to the age of 18. Still sponsored annually by the Library, the Young Pegasus Poetry Competition is the longest-running such program in the United States. Ms. Johnston was also the author of San Antonio – St. Anthony’s Town, published in the mid-1970s and still in the San Antonio Public Library collection today.
The Johnston Branch Library opened on August 23, 1981, on land donated by Ray Ellison Industries. Construction costs totalled approximately $575,000, funded by the 1980 City of San Antonio bond initiative. On opening day, the 9,000-square-foot branch library had a staff of nine and a collection containing 13,000 items. In 1994 work began to renovate the library and enlarge it by 3,000 square feet, funded by $785,470 from the 1989 City bond election. The updated, expanded facility re-opened in 1996.