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Yoakum County/Cecil Bickley Library Community Outreach Plan


Yoakum County, population 7,698 (2009 census data) is on the west side of Texas. Denver City is one of only two towns in the county. It is located in the southern part of the county and has 3,985 residents as of the 2000 Census. The town is on State Highway 83. Part of the town lies in Gaines County. Denver City is seventy miles southwest of Lubbock and is approximately 20 miles from the New Mexico state line. Hobbs, New Mexico is about 40 miles from Denver City and is a popular shopping destination for many residents. Hobbs also provides jobs for residents of Denver City.

The city was founded as the result of an oil strike, the last west Texas town created solely due to the discovery of oil. The oil deposit beneath Yoakum County, called the Wasson oil pool, was tapped in 1939. The town was named by C. S. Ameen and Ben Eggink and by 1940 had a population of 3,000 with 120 businesses. By 1943 the initial boom had subsided and the population had dropped to 2,000, with only 55 businesses.

Historical, Current, and Future Roles of the Library

Historically the library has been the place for: lifelong learning; free information access; a meeting place; provider of educational and recreational materials; information assistance; local history; formal education support; provider of current topics and titles; public computer access; place for early childhood literacy and a pre-school door to learning. Currently the library fulfills those roles plus being a place for adult learning, a gateway to information, business support, and a place to get help with career and workforce development. In the future the library would like to expand its pre-school door to learning role to include structured programs and additional materials for Spanish speaking children and to do programs for daycare centers.

Existing Programs

The library has a number of existing programs it offers to library patrons such as: weekly story time for pre-school aged children; annual summer reading program for children; nursing home outreach; regular art displays; exam proctoring and inter-library loan.

Identified Needs

One of the challenges for areas where cattle ranches and farmlands make up a large percentage of the income producing industry is that a bad year for crops or cattle results in loss of jobs and negatively impacts the ecomony. This has a ripple effect of businesses such as the gin losing sales and lowers the tax base in the area. Traditionally in Denver City, the oil industry has had a boom or bust effect on the local economy. When the industry is booming there is a greater possibility of speculators taking a risk on drilling more wells. This produces jobs for those specialized workers who are responsible for drilling wells and installing pump stations. In the bust time, jobs are lost and people move away from the area causing a dramatic decrease in population.

The hospital is a challenge and an asset. The challenge it poses is that it has not been financially independent, rather it creates a drain on funds and resouces in the county.

The level of education attained by residents overall presents a challenge. 25.1% have less than a 9th grade education; 26.2 % are high school graduates; 2.6% have an associate degree; 4.8% have a bachelor’s degree with just 3.6% having a graduate or professional degree. The language and reading skills of many is a challenge, especially for the 41.4% for whom English is not their native language. A majority of these speak Spanish as their first language.

The needs of the library reflect those of the community. Circulation increases when the economy is doing well and more temporary workers and their families are in town. Circulation and library visits drop when jobs are lost and the workers move away. Specific needs identified through surveys include: need more computers; more promotion of the library and its services and programs; more programs for children in general; more DVD movies; reading and writing contests for adults; more recreational books in Spanish, more programs for Spanish speaking children.

Identified Assets

Community assets identified include: public swimming pool; tennis courts; public parks; county owned golf course; rodeo grounds; historical site; vineyards; cattle ranches; farmland; oil fields and oil industry; cotton gin; elementary, middle and high school; City Hall; Chamber of Commerce; hospital, health clinic, and health department; pharmacy; day care centers; Senior Citizen Center; civic organizations such as American Legion and Rotary Club; Youth Center; Food Bank; Newspaper; City owned utilities; Post Office; Community Center; Volunteer Fire Department; Police Station; Department of Public Safety; grocery store; Yoakum County Museum; rental apartments; bakery/doughnut shop; cable TV; County owned nursing home; historical building; churches; veterinary clinic and fast food restaurtants.

The library’s assets include: it is a stand-alone facility that has been recently rennovated; has a collection of over 800 children’s bilingual books; it has well attended and well received children’s programs and a conference room for the library and public to use. Assets the staff possess include: being involved in community; good management, people, and computer skills; have a commitment to free access to information for the public; share knowledge with each other and with patrons; are good listeners and able to identify trends; are professional, well trained, and knowledgable; friendly and helpful; two bilingual staff; experienced and enthusiastic; appreciate diversity; good budgeting skills; able to manage projects well; technology savvy; encourage early literacy as well as encourage adult literacy; promote a love of reading; maintain confidentiality and communicate well with patrons.

Thank You Statement

The Yoakum County/Cecil Bickley Library would like to thank Jim Barron, Yoakum County Judge, the Yoakum County Commissioners, and the people of Yoakum County for continuing funding and support. The Library would like to thank the Robert and Ruby Priddy Charitable Trust for funding the Amo Leer grant and the PEARL project. The library received approximately 800 bi-lingual (Spanish/English) children’s books through the Amo Leer grant. The library’s participation in the PEARL project assisted the library in developing outreach programs using the books received through Amo Leer. Director Pat McNabb would like to thank the staff of the library for their understanding and support while she worked on developing this outreach program.


Yoakum County/Cecil Bickley Library
205 West 4th Street Denver City, TX 79323
United States
32° 58' 4.368" N, 102° 49' 50.1996" W
cecil_bickley_library.pdf449.39 KB
Weekly story time for pre-school aged children, Summer reading program for children, Nursing home outreach, Regular art displays, Exam proctoring, Inter-library loan


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