Newspaper Archive of
Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
December 8, 2010     Hays Free Press
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December 8, 2010

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Page 2C NEIGHBORS Hays Free Press December 8, 2010 + + PHOTO BY JENNIFER BIUNDO Up in more northerly climes, Santa Claus flies through the snowy skies in a sled pulled by reindeer. But here in Texas, where the sun can beat down on a hot and glorious December day, he and Mrs. Claus roll into town in a vintage convertible Cadillac, witt] a pair of long horns mounted on the front hood. Beautiful weather drew a crowd of thousands down to Buda's City Park and greenbelt for the 31st annual Budafest celebration this weekend, featuring a full carnival, more than 125 food and crafts vendors, entertainment, a parade down Main Street, and, of course, a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus. PHOTO BY JENNIFER BIUNDO PHOTO BY CYNDY SLOVAK-BARTON Miss Teen FireFest and Miss FireFest wave to the crowds. Turkeys Tackling Hunger represented Hays County Food Bank at the parade. PHOTOS BY UNCOLN RAMIREZ When it was finally time to light the tree, everyone wanted to get in on the action. Santa, as Well as Miss Kyle and Miss Teen Kyle and local young- sters joined Mayor Lucy Johnson as they pulled the lever and brought the massive Christmas tree to life. Hays Consolidated Independent School District librarians got into the Christmas spirit by giving away new books to al~the good little girls and boys at the Kyle Tree Ughting ceremony. Nancy'hrner, Director of Ubrary Media Services (top left), watches as local chiidrenehoose their free books. Local choirs from across tthe district performed their Christmas favorites for their families and friends amd neighbors in downtown Kyle Wednesday night. Hundreds of children waited patiently in a line that snaked around Kyle City Hall, for a chance to tell Santa what was on their wish lists this year. PHOTO COURTESY OF WYNETrE BARTON The Library Thrift Store under construction, 1989. Most people assume the present Kyle Library was built by the city and is totally supported by tax dollars. Nope. That's what happens in some cities, but in Kyle, a group called "Friends of the Kyle Library" started the library, supported it single-handedly for its first 40 years of existence, and continues to support it to the tune of at least $35,000 a year. That's your tax money that's being saved, in case you're wondering. No one imagined that a bu'flding would ever be constructed to house the books that this small group of citizens, usually referred to as FOKL, or simply as "the Friends," gathered together to start the first library in Kyle. The books, mostly used, and donated from private homes, numbered about 200 when the library opened in the 1960s in the back room of a Center Street store, the Bon Ton, where the new City Hall now stands. The first jump for the library was a move to a back room in the old City Hall, Still small, but grow- hag, it had found a home of its own. The second jump was a quantum leap. lack and Burdine Johnson of- fered to build a library if the town would raise $5,000 for books, and the Friends eagerly agreed. It wasn't easy to raise $5,000 in a town of less than 700 souls, as Kyle was at that time, but the Friends worked tirelessly with bake sales, auctions, and what- ever else they could imag- ine, and made it happen. The library became a reality, opening in 1962 in a fine new stone building stocked with new books and an untrained "librarian" from the Friends group, hired at the princely sum of $20 a month. Helping out in the new library were always the Friends. The library is now operat- ed by the city and has a gen- uine librarian and a small paid staff. More than 35,000 books, audio books, DVDs, and videos are available for lending, its 19 public access computers are in constant use, classes are held for people of all ages, and summer reading programs draw hundreds of children in attendance. About 8,000 people pass through its doors each month, a num- ber that's growing daily. The first library build- ing was spacious for a town of 700. Now, at 40 times that size, Kyle has found its library quarters not quite CHECK IT OUT so spacious, to say the least. Even with two addi- tions, it has been seriously overcrowded for years, and the new library, with con- struction to begin in Janu- ary, will be a monumental change even though the original building will be left behind with nostalgia. And the Friends? They're still at it. They operate the Thrift Shop on Lock- hart Street for the library's benefit. Volunteer Ceverene Lackey is at the helm, as she has been since the store first opened in 1989, and Blanche Richmond has been a steady volunteer since it began. There's now paid staff as well, since its growth has been as phenomenal as the library's. Donations of clothes and household goods for resale have made it possible for the Thrift Shop to save up $100,000 (yes, that much, believe it or not) for the new library building, on top of its regular contributions, and there's more to come. Besides its main func- tion of supporting the library, the Friends have contributed coats for school kids, clothes vouchers for tile homeless, and aid to families whose homes have burned. Soon to begin is a project for working with high schools in training vocational students in retail sales, and an expansion to the current shop is planned for the near future. The Friends of the Kyle Library is made up commu- nity members - like you, for instance. Joining it means plunking down $10 in an- nual dues and volunteering when and if you have time. There is one annual meet- ing, though members can attend all planning meetings if they choose. Recently re- vitalized with official non- profit status, the group is actively seeking new mem- bers, new ideas, and greater community involvement in activities that make Kyle a better place to live. Interested? Call the Thrift Shop (268-1036) or the Kyle Library (268- 7411) and leave your name and phone num- ber Someone will contact you. A little help goes a long way in the Friends organiza- tion. Joining is one of those things that will malce you feel good.