The Westbank Community Library District was founded as a community library (1984) and is now a political subdivision of the State of Texas (since 1998). It is governed by five members of an elected, unpaid Board of Trustees, and it is funded by 0.5% sales tax collected within its boundaries (a little over 27 square miles, and slightly smaller than the Eanes Independent School District, located just west of downtown Austin). Library districts in Texas differ from city libraries in that they are responsible for their own infrastructure, including buildings, grounds, and technology, so a certain percentage of income must be continually set aside for capital improvements. Westbank Libraries are not related to Austin Public Library.
Our district operates two libraries, the Westbank Community Library (originally built in 1989) and the Laura Bush Community Library (Laura’s Library, built in 2009), each about 15,000 square feet. In addition, we have a book sale room, a community garden, the Madrone Canyon Trail, and an outdoor chess garden. We have also recently taken over administration of the Eanes History Center documents, which are housed at Laura’s Library.
Westbank Libraries serve a population of approximately 27,000 people. Despite the relatively small population, we see about 250,000 visitors a year, and our collection of about 100,000 items sees about 470,000 checkouts per year. In addition, we run about 100 programs per month. These are very busy libraries!