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Martin County Library Community Outreach Plan

Introduction

Martin County

Martin County is located in west central Texas north of Interstate Highway 20, approximately 20 miles east of Midland and 100 miles south of Lubbock. Martin County was formed on August 21, 1876, from Bexar County and named for Wylie Martin, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred colonists. Martin County was attached to Mitchell County for administrative purposes for five months and then attached to Howard County until 1884, when the county was reduced to its present size and organized with Mariensfield, now Stanton, as the county seat. In the 2000 census the county population was 4,746. Population estimates for 2010 were 4,447 representing a population loss of 299. Stanton is the county seat and is home to nearly half the county with a population of 2,405. The northern portion of the Spraberry Trend, the third-largest oil field in the United States by remaining reserves, underlies much of the county.

Stanton

In 1881 the Texas and Pacific Railway built a two-story section house, pump and water tank at a small settlement in Martin County known as Grelton. John Jacob Konz of Anderson County, Kansas, wanted to establish a German Catholic colony and chose the settlement of Grelton for his endeavor. To further the establishment of the colony, two priests, Father Peters and his brother Boniface, wrote promotional bulletins and traveled to Germany to publicize the colony. In 1885 a sale of town lots was organized and citizens constructed the first permanent courthouse. They petitioned the railroad to change the name of the town to Marienfeld (German for "Field of Mary"). By 1885 Marienfeld had several businesses including a hotel, a wagon yard, several stores, a courthouse, a jail, a school, the Catholic complex, and railroad operations.

In 1894 a group of nuns of the Sisters of Mercy opened the Convent and Academy of Our Lady of Mercy. For many years the school was the only Catholic academy between Fort Worth and El Paso and attracted students from all of West Texas. The convent is no longer active but plans are underway to restore the building itself for historical purposes.

A drought in 1886 and 1887 took the German immigrants by surprise; this and the winter blizzards of 1886 almost destroyed the colony. Many of the settlers moved to Big Spring, and immigration came to a standstill. Though most of those who moved away during the drought were Catholic, most who arrived afterwards were Protestant, so that by the 1890s Catholics were in the minority. In 1890 the town was renamed Stanton, for Edwin McMasters Stanton, a Supreme Court justice and secretary of war under President Lincoln.

Ranching and farming, primarily cotton farming, remained the dominant economic activities in Stanton until 1951, when the Stanton oilfield went into production. Oil and gas production, together with farming and ranching, formed the base of the economy in the 1980s. 1977 the Texas and Pacific Railway discontinued service to Stanton.

Historical, Current, and Future Roles of the Library

In the past the library’s primary role was to provide books for recreational reading and educational materials. It also provided local history and genealogy related materials. Currently the library is a place for life-long learning, free and equal access to information, technology center, information literacy, cultural awareness, current topics and titles, preschool door to learning, early childhood literacy, career and workforce development, public computer access, information assistance, gateway to information. In the future we would like to provide ESL classes, adult learning opportunities, and basic literacy assistance.

Existing Programs

The library currently offers programs Summer Reading Program for children pre-school through 12th grade, homebound outreach, regular lecture series, regular art displays, exam proctoring, interlibrary loan, and special occasion story hours.

Identified Needs

The community has a need for businesses that could provide employment opportunities for residents. Many of the residents drive to Midland or Big Spring to work due to the lack of job opportunities in Stanton. More businesses in Stanton would help balance the tax base and provide additional city and county revenues to support development of the community. Ways to reach and engage teenagers and to provide activities for them during the summer such as a public swimming pool was also identified as a community need. The railroad line and distance to major cities also present challenges.

For the library, needs identified include: the need for more library hours; more workspace; more computers and more volunteers.

Identified Assets

Identified assets for the community include: major highways, wind turbines, oil fields, cattle ranches and farm land. There is an independent school district with one high school and a combined elementary, middle and junior high school and one daycare in town. There are county and city services such as: the Senior Citizens center, community center, public parks, public tennis courts, police station, sheriff’s office, post office, fire station, city hall, health department office, public housing, health clinic, hospital, and courthouse. Other services in town include a food bank; assisted living center; adult care center; RV park; chamber of commerce; museum; newspaper office; telephone and cable office; churches; historical site; historical buildings; thrift shop; bookstore; a few fast food restaurants, a grocery store and a truck stop.

Assets identified for the library include a staff that has good management skills, is friendly, helpful, enthusiastic, has good communication skills, is diverse, technology savvy, and one bi-lingual staff member. The programs, services, and materials the library currently provides are also assets.

Thank You Statement

The staff of the Martin County Library would like to thank the Martin County Commissioners Court for the opportunity to participate in the University of North Texas (UNT) PEARL project. We want to thank the Martin County Library Advisory Board for their continuing support and especially for their support of this project. The Library would like to thank the Robert and Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust for funding the UNT PEARL project, our Library’ participation in PEARL and for making PEARL possible. We would like to thank the University of North Texas in Denton for choosing our Library to participate in the PEARL project. The Library staff would like to thank Barbara Blake for working with us, for the Community Outreach Plan Manual, and for choosing our Library to participate. Our special thanks go to RoseAleta Laurell for guiding us through the worksheets in the manual, answering questions and the fun Skype sessions! And Assistant Librarian Jackie Garza would like to extend her personal thanks to Kaye Smith, Library Director for allowing her to participate in PEARL.

Location

Martin County Library
200 N. St. Mary P.O. Box 1187 Stanton, TX 79782
United States
32° 7' 51.3228" N, 101° 47' 19.5684" W
AttachmentSize
Martin County Library Community Outreach Plan91.11 KB
Keywords: 
Summer Reading Program, Homebound outreach, Regular lecture series, Regular art displays, Exam proctoring, Interlibrary loan

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