Saving History: Group Works to Preserve Salado Library’s Historical Book Collection | Life

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Salado Public Library patrons can now step back in time after hundreds of new historical books were recently put on display.

Library officials recently announced that a five-year effort to catalog and document 675 books donated by the Salado Museum and College Park is now complete. Now anyone who wants to learn about local history or research the area has a place to go.

The museum and the Robertson family who helped run the collection closed their own library in 2017 and transferred most of the books to a new collection.

Jeanie Lively, director of the library, said the collection includes fiction books, but it is mostly made up of books in the non-fiction category.

“Some were written by people as their personal or family stories, and have not been published,” Lively said. “It’s good to have those here. And that’s why we’re delighted to be able to make more information about the history of this area available to the public.

Books in the collection also include those of Salado, Bell County, railroads, and Texas history, while others include census records, personal or family journals, and photography books or of art.

Lively said the reason the library took so long to put the books on display was the cataloging process.

This process, Lively said, required staff and volunteers to research various information about each book. This information ranged from the name of the author and the publication date of the book to its value.

Some of this information was very hard to find, as some books were only printed a handful of times and weren’t really intended for a wide audience.

Lively said some of the writers, while not having the best writing style, still helped convey what the area was like at the time.

“A lot of these authors weren’t authors per se, with a lot of books named after them,” Lively said. “He was someone who wanted to share his family history. So we had to search to find their family history.

Some books, Lively said, weren’t in good condition after so many years and will be kept in the back of the library so they remain preserved.

Lively said many of the books, some of which are nearly 100 years old, are in good enough condition to be handled by the general public. She said the library placed this part of the collection in its history section.

The collection, Lively said, will not be available at checkout, although the public can sit and read them at the library.

Lively said she enjoyed reading some of the new books in the collection and had to step back while cataloging them.

“You had to be careful because sometimes you got caught looking at a book when you should have been working,” she said.

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