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Gaines County Library System

Who We Are

The Gaines County Library System's main branch is located in Seminole, Texas. There is also a branch in Seagraves, Texas. The Gaines County Library System (GCLS) provides free services to all residents living within the state of Texas.

More than just a book, the Gaines County Library System will be a welcoming destination and a leading provider of resources for information and inspiration in an environment that is accessible to all.

The Gaines County Library System strives to provide and actively promote access to resources for people of all ages regardless of their cultural background, viewpoint, gender, or educational level as a means to learn throughout their lives; to meet their reading interests; to find, evaluate and use this information in a variety of formats; to get answers to their questions; and better understand their community’s heritage so that individuals may improve the quality of their lives; and to extend these resources beyond the Library and into the community.

Statistics for fiscal year 2018, reported annually to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, show this library system having 6,232 registered patrons and holding 67,546 materials which includes 44,986 books, 2,922 movies, and 1,505 audio books on CD, and 18,124 eBooks.

In total, 76,188 items were checked out of the system during 2018; with 44,813 of these being children’s materials!

GCLS recorded a total of 52,326 people entering the two library branches to check out books, attend programs, utilize print and electronic reference resources, access the Internet through the Libraries' 15 patron computers, and to participate in computer and Internet training.

The Library offers 75 online databases, 71 of these are on the TexShare databases through Texas State Library, and 4 are provided by Gaines County Library. Patrons have a choice of 61 print subscriptions – magazines – which may be checked out and enjoyed at home.

In 2018, GCLS held 282 total programs hosting 8,727 patrons. Library staff assisted 7,416 patrons with computer help; recorded 3,606 computer users, 6,514 WiFi users; and helped 16,439 patrons with reference questions.

Our friendly and professional staff is eager to serve you. Welcome to the Gaines County Library System!

About the Gaines County Libraries - The First 50 Years

  • The Gaines County Library in Seminole formally opened its doors in 1958 in the basement of the Gaines County Courthouse, with Mary Cleveland as head librarian.
  • Dale Winks, an assistant at the library since its inception in 1957, succeeded Mary Cleveland as head librarian in 1962.
  • Story time for children has always been an important feature at the library. Newspaper articles dating back as far as 1960 feature library staff and volunteers reading to children.
  • County citizens have always been strongly encouraged to visit and get to know the library. National Library Week, first celebrated in Seminole in the early 1960s, invites patrons to become familiar with libraries and the staff, and to encourage the use of the many library features.
  • In 1971, the library began offering 16mm sound films, provided by the West Texas Library System Film Service, which could be checked out by local groups for a small fee.
  • The first phases of the Interlibrary Loan Program were introduced in the early 1970s. Initially, requests were made by telephone, and often if one library didn't have the material requested, then more phone calls were placed to other libraries in Texas to find the needed request.
  • In 1972, Librarian Dale Winks was listed in "Who's Who of American Women."
  • In August 1973, Gaines County Judge Marcus Crow and Gaines County Hospital Board Chairman Richard Watts discussed renovating the old hospital building to house the new county library. In September 1973, Gaines County commissioners approved the 1974 budget which included plans to remodel the facility as the new county library-museum. At a cost of $100,000, the hospital would be renovated to include the library, museum, senior citizens center, mental health clinic and county health offices.
  • In May 1975, Gaines County commissioners officially accepted the renovated complex, named Independence Center, and move-in for the library, museum and senior citizens center got under way. Each of the four wings was named to reflect the United States Bicentennial Celebration (1776-1976), and as a result, the library wing is called Constitution Hall.
  • The new library officially opened the week of June 8, 1975, with Dale Winks serving as librarian.
  • In November 1985, Bobbie Jautaun Williams of Seagraves was hired as new librarian, succeeding Dale Winks.
  • In 1988, the Gaines County Libraries were accredited as a member of the Texas Library System.
  • In 1989, the Volunteer Literacy Program was begun in Seminole.
  • In 1992, Bobbie Williams resigned as librarian, and Lupe Molinar was hired as her replacement.
  • In 2002, the library began offering Internet access.
  • In 2007, Lupe Molinar resigned as county librarian, and Jane Bering was hired to succeed her.

Seagraves Branch
The Seagraves branch of the Gaines County Library was established in 1958 and initially located in the Seagraves Area Chamber of Commerce. Books were taken from the Seminole main library and circulated in Seagraves for several months before being exchanged for other selections.

  • In 1959, the state library loaned the county a Bookmobile, which operated out of Seagraves for a year. The former Hearne Freight Office served as the branch office.
  • In 1962, the library was moved to the current location, 311 Hill St. Lillian Moore, who handled book circulation during the Bookmobile phase, was named the librarian of the Seagraves Branch and served until 1968, when Cleo Spence was named librarian.
  • In December 1987, Cleo Spence retired as Seagraves Branch librarian after 22 years of service, and Diana Guzman was hired as her replacement.
  • In October 2004, Toni Polyak was hired as librarian-clerk at the Seagraves Branch.
  • Beginning the Summer of 2008, due to having no space for Summer Reading Program, the Seagraves Branch Library accepted an invitation to hold its programs at the Seagraves and Loop Historical Museum and Art Center.
  • In October 2011, the GCLS payroll budget was increased to add a 20-hour per week helper for the Seagraves Branch in response to increased activity inside the Library, outreach to Seagraves and Loop ISDs, and significantly more circulation of materials.
  • In October 2012, Toni Polyak was named Seagraves Library Branch Manager.
  • In October 2017, Gaines County Commissioners Court approved the motion for the County Judge to sign a fifty (50) year lease with Seagraves Independent School District to take over a building they own - the old post office building in Seagraves - to be used for Gaines County Library Seagraves Branch. This will increase the square footage from 890 to 4,224.
The guiding principles for your library

Gaines County Library System strives to reach out to the entire community to foster the love of reading and lifelong learning. These goals will be guided by long-range plans which will be continuously worked on and updated. Used as blueprints, these plans will be used for providing quality services for the citizens of Gaines County and help in cultivating a sense of community at the libraries.

The areas of major service the libraries will focus on are as follows:

  • Current Topics and Titles: to fulfill patrons' appetites for information about popular culture and social trends and their desire for satisfying recreational experiences through offering fiction titles, magazines and newspapers.
  • Lifelong learning: these services help address the desire for self-directed personal growth and development opportunities through current and up-to-date non-fiction titles.
  • General Information: to help meet the needs for information and answer questions on a broad array of topics related to work, school and personal life by providing reference material which is up-to-date.
  • Local History and Genealogy: these services address the desire of community residents  to know and better understand personal or community heritage.
  • Cultural Heritage: helps to satisfy the desire of our community's residents to gain an understanding of their own cultural heritage and the cultural heritage of others.
  • Information Literacy: these services help address the desire for self-directed personal growth and development opportunities. The use of the libraries' computers for research using accurate, relative and authenticated Web sites is an example.