Home Community Mission Branch Library celebrates 10 years

Mission Branch Library celebrates 10 years

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Mission Branch Library, seen here in a recent photo, accommodates a range of community activities and preserves neighborhood heritage. Courtesy photo/Google Street View

A lingering pandemic isn’t keeping community leaders and the San Antonio Public Library from marking the 10th anniversary of the Mission Branch Library.

The continuing celebration is mainly on the library system’s website, where city officials and supporters offer brief remarks about the history and impact of the facility, which opened at 3134 Roosevelt Ave. on April 30, 2011.

Visitors have been dropping by the library to pick up anniversary goodie bags and take “Star Wars” themed photos.

Guest speakers describe Mission Branch as a “firmly established” and “beloved” place in the Mission San Jose neighborhood.

A group called Friends of Mission Branch Library led the effort more than a decade ago to get the city to open a library in South Central.

The city built the 16,400-square-foot library on the former Mission Drive-In site, between a restored movie marquee and Mission San Jose.

Friends Vice President Marcie Anguiano recalled her late father-in-law, Roberto Anguiano Sr., who advocated for a library along the historic missions corridor.

“He understood that having a library would have a positive impact on South Side families,” Marcie Anguiano said.

Terry Ybanez, Friends of Mission Branch Library’s president, has been with the group since its inception.

“Our beautiful library is a community center in our Mission San Jose neighborhood,” she said.

The area’s heritage and community engagement are reflected in the construction of the library, and in the activities and programming there, officials said.

A series of artworks created by San Antonio native Chris Sauter can be seen at various parts of the site, including a mural depicting the library and Mission San Jose above layers of San Antonio history.

Visitors can also find two outdoor sculptures embedded with fossils and artifacts, as well as a playground, exercise equipment and a rock garden.

In 2013, a library courtyard was dedicated to the late Monsignor Balthasar Janacek, who served as archdiocesan director for the Spanish missions.

Two years later, a mission community garden group was formed and a library space was created for them. In 2016, the library began hosting a project to preserve and share heritage of local indigenous people.

In 2018, the library’s meeting rooms were renamed after Roberto Anguiano.

Mission Branch Library today contains 50,000 items and 24 public-access computers. Between 2018 and 2019, the library saw nearly 226,000 visitors.

SAPL Director Ramiro Salazar recalled hundreds of South Side residents filling the library grounds on opening day and celebrating the launch of a community library.

“We’re proud that after 10 years, the Mission Branch Library continues to be the center for the community there in South San Antonio,” he said.

Josie Martinez, District 3 trustee with the San Antonio Public Library board, was a founding member of the Friends of Mission Library. She commended library staff for working through the pandemic.

“The staff of Mission Library did not let a little thing like a worldwide pandemic interrupt services the community has come to expect,” Martinez said.

She added, “This wonderful staff proved that the library is more than just a physical building, and while day-to-day procedures may have looked a little bit different, that same heart for service and a dedicated spirit has been steadfast throughout these difficult times.”

The online anniversary videos can be found at https://guides.mysapl.org/mission10th.

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