Houston Textile Mill, 1931-1936

Houston Textile Mill, 1931-1936

In April 1931, a one-room library station opened at the Houston Textile Mill (better known now as the Oriental Textile Mill) to provide library service to about 50 families working there.  The opening was in partnership with the mill owners and the Vocational Department of Houston Public Schools (modern-day Houston Independent School District).  The library provided child development books and classes to parents.
Library service on site was a boon to parents who had worked at other textile mills before moving to Houston.  From a July 1931 newspaper article:
"Several of the mothers employed at the mill reported that their children are reading 'a book a week.' Most of the mothers are willing to leave to the library staff the proper guidance in reading for the children.  All children's books are selected with the utmost care."
The station circulated 2,096 books during the first year.  The branch circulated 2,081 books in 1932 and 2,223 books in 1933.
The station was unexpectedly closed in November 1934 when its building was repurposed.  It reopened again in January 1935 in a personal home
The station closed again in December 1936 when the mill no longer had space for the book collection.  Its circulation that year was 1,077 books.  While the closure was intended to be temporary, it became permanent in 1937.  In addition to the lack of facilities to hold the books, the HCPL administration was also concerned about increased damage to the collection housed at the mill.  The community was placed on the bookmobile route for a few months until it was determined that the nearby “longer and bigger” Lindale stop would provide sufficient service.  

(1931, June 30). Quarterly Summary, Harris County Public Library

(1931, July 19). County's libraries yearly issue 222,226 books. Harris County Public Library

1931 Annual Report, Harris County Public Library

1932 Annual Report, Harris County Public Library

1933 Annual Report, Harris County Public Library

1934 Annual Report, Harris County Public Library

1935 Annual Report, Harris County Public Library

1936 Annual Report, Harris County Public Library

1937 Annual Report, Harris County Public Library


Learn more about the Textile Mill

(2006). Landmark Designation Report. City of Houston, Texas website. (Accessed March 21, 2024)

Oriental Textile Mill. Wikipedia. (Accessed March 21, 2024)

Visit the site at 2201 Lawrence St., Houston, Texas.