History of the Hillsboro City Library
Hillsboro has had a public library since 1940. The original facility occupied the rear of the Chamber of Commerce building, formerly at 111 South Covington Street. It operated on a shoestring of volunteer help and contributions for several years. In 1948 the Federated Clubs of Hillsboro took over the library, but a struggle for finances continued. The Bonds Alley Arts and Crafts Fair was launched in June 1965 to help fund the library. Substantial support was received from this source.
Efforts were initiated in 1967 to acquire the former federal post office building at Waco and Gould streets, to be renovated for use as the public library. Also that year, the city took responsibility for providing more adequate finances for the library, which had outgrown the resources provided by volunteer fundraising and contributions.
By February 14, 1968, the deed to the Hillsboro post office building was officially handed over to the city. Then began a fund drive to raise $50,000 locally to match a federal grant for renovation and restoration. The goal was reached in March 1969, and remodeling began in June of that year. Since February 1971, the library has been at home in what is commonly called the "old post office." In 1982, the Library was designated a Texas Historical Building and then in 1984 was listed with the National Registrar of Historic Places.
Building of the library building began in 1912 and was completed in 1915. It is a magnificent structure designed as an adaptation of the Foundling Hospital for Children of Florence, Italy, which was executed in 1419 by the Italian architect, sculptor, and painter Brunelleschi. That building is considered one of the first of the High Renaissance. The library is also decorated with terracotta medallions in bas relief, done in the style of the Robbia. Few towns the size of Hillsboro are blessed with such a classically styled building with such an attractive interior and exterior.
Since moving into the "old post office," the library has grown in every aspect of services, equipment, and systems. Its use by children and adults has increased substantially each year, thanks to a continually growing budget funded by the city as well as library-sponsored fund-raisers.