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Elizabeth L. Ring Library celebrates 50 years of service

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Houston Public Library Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson with Council member Brenda Stardig at Elizabeth L. Ring Neighborhood Library to celebrate its namesake and 50 years of service to the Spring Branch community Aug 13 2014
Houston Public Library Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson with Council member Brenda Stardig at Elizabeth L. Ring Neighborhood Library to celebrate its namesake and 50 years of service to the Spring Branch community Aug 13 2014Marc Pembroke
Descendants of Elizabeth L. Ring at library named for her Aug 13 2014
Descendants of Elizabeth L. Ring at library named for her Aug 13 2014photo by Marc Pembroke

On Wednesday, August 13, the Elizabeth L. Ring Neighborhood Library commemorated its 50th anniversary of community service. The library opened on July 31, 1964, and within 3 weeks, 88% of its collection was in circulation. Houston City Council Member Brenda Stardig, (District A) gave the keynote address. She grew up on Laverne Street (the same street as Mayor Annise Parker) only about half mile, or 10 minute walk from the library, so both used the Ring library in their early childhood years. Houston Public Library Director Dr. Rhea Brown Lawson then emphasized the mission for the Ring branch and for all Houston libraries. Ring Library staff member Kathy Carmichael presented a summary of the remarkable achievements of Elizabeth L. Ring.

Mrs. Ring was born Elizabeth Fitzimmons on October 31, 1857. In the 19th century, private reading clubs for one sex only provided access to books for their members. Males joined the Houston Lyceum, and Elizabeth Ring was active in the Houston Ladies Reading Club. Through persistence and tenacity, she was instrumental in creating a public library available for all. She died in 1941 survived by her 2 sons, Robert and Roland. Following the speeches, Ms. Carmichael interviewed Nancy Vreugde, a granddaughter of Elizabeth L. Ring, who shared fond childhood memories of the family matriarch. She also introduced nearly a dozen family members who were present for the occasion.

The Ring Library was the 12th branch library has a unique circular design, for which the architectural firm Hamilton Brown and Associates,lead by the father of former Council Member Peter Brown, received an award from the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter of the National Society of Interior Designers. The library underwent a major renovation in 2009 with the addition of a meeting room that extended the original circular shape of the building.