The Brownwood High School class of 1954 donated $700 to the Brownwood Public Library children’s area and $300 to the Brown County Local History and Genealogy Library on Wednesday afternoon.
Brownwood library director Becky Isbell and Pecan Valley Genealogical Society vice president Ed Walker were on hand at the Genealogy Library to accept the donations from eight members of the 1954 class.
Isbell said the donations will help update the library’s aging children’s space. “The children’s area is kind of dated. We’ve bought new rugs and new artwork,” she said. “I think giving it a fresh look … will give it a fun appearance that kids and families will enjoy.”
She said the Brownwood library works closely with the Genealogical Society to maintain the Genealogy Library as well. “Genealogy books are often small run, so they tend to be very expensive,” Isbell said. “They’ve got a great collection here, but they always try to add to it each month.
“So many libraries charge to do research. Someone in Montana might say, ‘I’ve got family in Brownwood, ancestors. I need to find a newspaper clipping.’ A lot of libraries don’t have the resources, so they charge for the research, but the Pecan Valley Genealogical Society … will oftentimes just go ahead and do that research for no charge. This donation will help them continue that service,” Isbell said.
Walker said he enjoys helping the community learn about its past. “It’s the most exciting thing in the world to see someone come in … and find stuff that they never knew existed,” he said. “If the right [volunteer] helps them who knows how to research, they leave here so excited they don’t know how to act.”
Walker and Isbell commended the library and Genealogical Society volunteers who help with maintenance and research at the two locations.
Class of 1954 member Sandra Camp said her group wanted to give back to a great community organization. “We all like to go to the library,” she said, “and we have a good library. And the Genealogy Library blows my mind — you can give [Walker] a name, and he’ll find it.”
Class member Janice Hixon said most of her BHS classmates left Brownwood before returning years later, and they use the Genealogy Library to reconnect with Brownwood’s past. “It’s an amazing service,” she said.
Many local Class of ’54 members meet monthly at The Sticks BBQ to catch up and reminisce. Camp said the group is happy to support an organization that will preserve Brownwood’s history for generations to come.
The Brown County Local History and Genealogy Library is located at 213 S. Broadway St. near the courthouse in Brownwood. The central library is at 600 Carnegie St.