Grand Opening and Growth
The library held a grand opening on Monday, March 28, 1927, from 3 to 6 pm with the Woman's Club serving as hostesses. The women appealed to visitors to treat the occasion as a "book shower," and indicated that children's books were the most needed but good wholesome reading for any age was acceptable. The club expressed gratitude to the city authorities and to Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Kleberg for making the eighteen year dream come true. Mrs. R. J. Kleberg presented the library with a "handsome suite of furniture" for the Club Room, and Father Dan A. Laning of St. Gertrudes Parish, and Mr. J. C. Nolan donated pictures for the walls of the Club Room. The library grounds were leveled and plans made for planting grass, shrubbery, flower beds, and palm trees. A shipment of 150 new books was added to the collection, and the library opened from 2:30 to 6:30 daily, except Sunday and holidays, and was free to all citizens of Kleberg County. The City of Kingsville designated 3.5 cents from the $2.95 taxes per $100 valuation for the opening expenses of the library.
The use of the library increased rapidly. By about 1930 the county commissioners began giving financial assistance because so many rural residents were patrons of the library. At first the county contributed $25 a month, but later increased that to $50, $75, and $100 per month. Within a dozen years the Woman's Club had grown so large that it could no longer meet in the club room and the entire building was used for the library. By 1939, the library was circulating over 4,700 books a month. The library was so crowded by 1956 that the books were stacked to the ceiling and across the windows, which had been covered with shelves to accommodate the over 11,000 books. The President of the Women's Club, Mrs. Eugene May, worked with Mrs. Frank H. Dotterweich, Mrs. Leo Kaufer, Mrs. E. W. House, John E. Conner, Henry Converse, and Robert Wells to tour other libraries in South Texas, and to consult with a State Library. They eventually met with county and city commissioners and decided to ask for a bond issue to demolish the old building and to construct a new, larger library on the same site.