Terrazas Library

1105 E. Cesar Chavez St.

The Henry S. Terrazas Branch Library is named for young Austinite Henry Terrazas, who was killed on November 5, 1966 fighting a forest fire while serving in the Marine Corps. He was a 1965 graduate of Sidney Johnston High School where he was a varsity football player and honor student.

The library’s history goes back to 1961 when it was housed in a small room in the recently opened Pan American Recreation Center. In 1969, after outgrowing its space at the Center, the branch moved to a 2,000 square foot storefront facility, formerly a furniture store, on Canadian and East First Streets. Seven years later, in 1976, the library moved to its current location. The Terrazas Library held opening ceremonies on January 15, 1976, however the library had been open since February of the year prior. The president of the Library Commission presided over the ceremonies and Mayor Pro Tem Jimmy Snell performed the ribbon cutting. Designed by Zapalac & Griffin, AIA, and constructed by Canyon Construction Company the structure was built as a project of Model Cities. The original building was 5,400 square feet and could hold 15,000 books. The library served approximately 18,000 East Austin residents by providing a large reading room, a community meeting space, and the largest collection of Spanish material in the Austin Public Library System. In addition to the collection, the library staff were bilingual as well, and programs offered through the Library, through close cooperation with the neighborhood schools, were geared towards the needs of children. The current library is now twice the size of the original structure at 10,000 square feet, with a collection of almost 50,000 volumes. Renovated in 2003 by Lawrence Group Architects, it reopened in 2006 to continue serving the growing East Austin community by providing varied collections, helpful resources, and unique programs. The metal sculpture in front of the Library and the statue of Cesar Chavez near the parking lot, are both part of Austin’s Art in Public Places program. This award-winning library was named as “The Best Little Library in Texas” by the School Library Journal in January of 2001.