Flores, citizens say Poteet Public Library is an asset to community

At the July 27 Poteet City Council budget meeting at the Poteet Public Library, Mayor Denise Sanchez and Council discussed multiple budget items. One of these items included potentially cutting down the librarian hours. At the meeting, the library was described by one council member as a “dead asset.”

Though no actions could be made at the meeting, this led to a highly discussed topic on social media. Subsequently, the community has started a change.org petition to “Save the Poteet Library” and a rally was held Aug. 2.

Mayor Sanchez, Council members Candace Cantu, Jeremy Fernandez, Crystal Bautista, Rick T. Flores and Mayor Pro Tem Nicholas Sanchez were all in attendance at the budget workshop. The Pleasanton Express has requested the recording of the meeting as well as the draft budget from the city secretary. Our report after receiving the recording will attribute the direct quotes to appropriate council members regarding their statements on the library.

The Pleasanton Express spoke to Councilmember Flores after the budget workshop meeting. Flores stated he is a big supporter of the library and said it’s a wonderful asset to the community and an essential part of what makes a community strong. Flores reiterated that all items were just discussed and no action was taken.

The Poteet Public Library serves many purposes in the community. In the height of the 2020 pandemic, the library doors were closed but still offered curbside service for check-in and checkout. The library has recently been used as an early voting place. It also serves as the site of the annual Summer Reading Program. The library has also held “Read for the Record,” a nationwide event, which supports early literacy for every child.

In Sept. 2018, the library held its Grand Opening Ceremony to celebrate the opening of its new building. At the time, Poteet Librarian Lisa Burbridge said the library had been in the works for 15 years.

Then Poteet City Administrator Eric Jiminez said at the ceremony that a $182,000 donation was made to the city 20 years ago by the late Dorothy L. Mueller for a new library, but no work had been done since.

Karen Gerstenherber and Pat Tuohy of the Tocker Foundation helped librarian Burbridge obtain grants throughout the process to purchase furniture. The Poteet Public Library received a $50,902 grant from the Tocker Foundation. The Tocker Foundation helps small, rural Texas libraries serving populations of 12,000 or less.

The new building consisted of a brand new teen section, something the library had never had before along with a children’s reading section.

They also built a conference room that is used for meetings and small gatherings.

The Poteet City Council meeting held their regular meeting Tuesday, Aug. 3 at 6 p.m that was preceded by a second budget workshop. These meetings were not livestreamed by the City of Poteet, but the Pleasanton Express went live with two reporters in attendance and breaking news stories will follow in the days after the meeting.

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