The Commerce Journal


November 27, 2013

Library still needed, even in a digital age

COMMERCE — The Commerce Public Library has an “open door policy.”

But in this case – to resurrect an old advertising slogan – simply keeping the door open is “Job One.”  And that has not always been an easy task.

Located at 1210 Park Street at the east end of the Commerce business district, the library was established in 1954 and will be celebrating its 60th anniversary next year.  In 1971 it moved into its current home in a Commerce historic site, the old U.S. Post Office building.

“We’re really excited about how far the library has come, but there’s still so much more that we could, should and want to do,” said Carolyn Trezevant, a former board president of the Friends of the Commerce Public Library that oversees the library’s operations. “Funding our operations has really become an issue in recent years.”

According to Interim library director Nan Clay, a former librarian for the Commerce Independent School District, the city of Commerce owns the building that houses the library. In addition to allowing Friends of the Library to utilize the building rent free, the city provides significant direct funding from its budget, including utility costs. Indirect support, such as facility maintenance, is provided as well.

In 2010 insufficient funding forced the library to cut services, curtail its hours of operation and reduce staff work hours. Just two years later, the state of the economy forced the city to scale back its direct funding of the library.

“Our current operating budget is about $103,000 a year,” Clay said.  “That may sound like a lot of money to some people, but when you consider the broad range of services and other amenities the library provides, it’s pretty bare bones.”

The extensive services offered by the library are unique in a community the size of Commerce.  They range from bound books, books on CD and DVDs to literacy classes, computer stations and free internet access to library patrons.  

“Our local history archives date back to the 1800s and are really quite remarkable,” Trezevant noted.

While the library staff and volunteers are proud to occupy a Commerce landmark, the old post office building was constructed in 1917 and needs a significant facelift to bring it up to 21st century standards.  That includes providing improved handicapped access to the facility.

City funding simply isn’t available to make that happen, points out current Friends of the Library president Mike Odom, an art instructor at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

In recognition of that fact, the library began expanding its efforts to raise awareness of the building’s declining condition by hosting a series of Town Hall Meetings in the spring of 2012.  As an outcome of that initiative, several community members made donations that were designated to support the restoration project.

“We raised about $4,000 at the time,” Odom said. “We later used those funds to help underwrite a limited restoration of the building, starting with the main portico.  The actual cost of the portico restoration was over $13,000.”  

The beauty of the restored portico offers a striking contrast to the neglect of the remainder of the building.

“We are so appreciative to those who have made gifts toward the restoration,” Odom said, “but we have many ongoing operating needs as well.  We are also grateful to community members who regularly support the library through donations, Friends memberships, memorials and fundraisers.”  

“Every time our grandchildren visit, we take them to the library,” said Nancy McFarland, wife of former A&M-Commerce President Keith. “The library is just as important to kids growing up today as it is to the older generation. They love to go to the library, sit and look at the books and check them out.  Despite the emphasis on electronic communication today, the library is anything but obsolete.”

“We need that library in town!  Absolutely; we really do,” she concluded.

Staff, volunteers, and Board members urge those who are considering 2013 year-end gifts to include the Commerce Public Library in their planning.  The library is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, so all gifts are fully tax deductible.      

Everyone from Commerce and the surrounding area is invited to join in a celebration of the holidays and learn more about the library’s needs at a library open house from 5:30 to 7: p.m. on Dec. 10, Odom says.

The library also is in the midst of its annual book sale that will continue through January. Additional information about the library can be found online at

Text Only
  • RGB_Karl_Clauss_6-24-14.jpg Rotary president brings global perspective

    Idyllic is a perfect word to describe Gaia Ranch, Karl and Roxane Clauss’ 140 acre spread  in Cumby that features Katahdin sheep, Angus cattle and a winding rock road that leads past a guest house/art studio to their ranch-style home tucked behind a grove of trees.

    June 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • RGB_Children's_Museum_1_6-4-14.jpg The best little museum in Texas

    Sharline Freeman’s life has taken a lot of unexpected twists and turns that led her to the Northeast Texas Children’s Museum in 2009.

    June 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • HeadStart.jpg Organization gives low income families a head start in education

    For students who grow up in a low-income household, the start of their education career can be difficult.
    That situation is exacerbated when students are raised in a single-parent household.

    April 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • RGB_Rasco_1_4-9-14.jpg Presbyterian Church welcomes new pastor to Commerce

    Rev. Krista Rasco, recently named pastor of the First United Presbyterian Church of Commerce, was formally ordained into the ministry during a special service held at the church on April 6.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Zoe Peak.JPG Zoe Peak signs with Henderson State

    Most high school athletes are passionate about the sports they play, but few demonstrate the dedication of swimmers like Commerce High School senior Zoe Peak.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Troy Dorsey.jpeg Dorsey, boxing greats to headline ‘Boxing With the Stars’

    On March 19, famous figures of the boxing world will all visit Texas A&M University-Commerce as part of the Boxing With the Stars event, a one-of-a-kind opportunity for A&M-Commerce students and local community members to meet and interact with some of the most important figures in boxing, both past, present and future.

    March 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Library still needed, even in a digital age

    The Commerce Public Library has an “open door policy.”
    But in this case – to resurrect an old advertising slogan – simply keeping the door open is “Job One.”  And that has not always been an easy task.

    November 27, 2013

  • RGB_Lil'Angels_11-26-13.jpg Kiwanis Club continues caring for ‘Lil’ Angels’

    Approximately 500 children in the Commerce Independent School District will receive Christmas presents this year, thanks to the Commerce Kiwanis Club’s annual Lil’ Angels toy drive.

    November 27, 2013 1 Photo

  • Al Jackson.jpg Jackson begins recovery, thanks to strong will, support

    Commerce’s Al Jackson is a senior wide receiver/defensive back, a former all-district selection who helps anchor a team that has had a lot to overcome this season.

    October 31, 2013 1 Photo

  • RGB_ArtShow2_10-8-13.jpg Local artist holds first show at A Space

    Janelle Stogner has been painting for 30 years, but Oct. 5 was the 78-year-old Greenville resident’s first art show.

    October 15, 2013 1 Photo

Featured Ads


How many games do you think the Lions will win in 2014?

7-9 wins
4-6 wins
1-3 wins
     View Results
Must Read
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide