The Joe Barnhart Bee County Library


One of Dr. Barnhart's dreams was the creation of a library, a new, modern facility to serve the entire community. The Foundation worked with the community to make that dream a reality. The Joe Barnhart Bee County Library opened March 3, 2001. Housed in an historic 1906 building owned by the Foundation located on the courthouse square, the library is a state-of-the-art facility and is one of the first public libraries in the country to use the newest 3M Digital Identification System. It offers distance learning, video-conferencing, and Tex Share, a program enabling patrons to check out books from participating libraries across the state,including the University of Texas and Texas A&M University. The library provides over 36 public access computer workstations and 34 public access laptops, all with high speed Internet connections. The library has over 27,000 volumes, including a first edition Samuel Johnson dictionary dated 1755. The library shares its resources, via a shared library system with area schools.The library has created a branch facility at the Boys and Girls Club of Beeville, equipped with public access computer workstations and books aimed at the young adult audience (ages 11-16).Custom-made, signed Thomas Moser furnishings are featured throughout the building. The glass addition to the original structure includes a glass elevator.Funding for the creation of the library, including build-out, equipment and furnishings, technology and books, was provided by a grant of over $4 million from the Foundation. In addition, the Foundation provides a $250,000 endowment to the library for operating expenses. Remaining operating budget funding is provided by Bee County, the City of Beeville, and grants. The Foundation leases the building to the library for $1 per year and funds capital maintenance and repair costs of the building.