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Madison County Library Wayne Lafayette Parten Memorial Library

Library History

History of the Madison County Library in Madisonville, Texas


Pictured: J. Howard Marshall, Jubal R. Parten, Ralph K. Davies, November 20, 1945.
Photo Courtesy: Harry S. Truman Library and Museum, University of Missouri

History of the Madison County Library

     In the fall of 1966, a dream became reality for the people of Madison County when Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Parten (local civic leader, rancher, oil man, and businessman) gave 400 shares of Union Oil of California stock to its citizens to purchase a building for the Madison County Library. On January 27, 1966, the Madison County Commissioners Court purchased the former Colonial Inn at 605 S. May. The building would be renovated into a library with $75,000 set aside by the bond election held on December 21, 1966,

     There was a strong feeling in the community that Madison County could no longer deny the citizens the benefits of a good public library, and that a good library containing books for people of all ages would be an investment for continuing community growth.

     On October 4, 1967, final approval was sent from Austin for the library. The agreement between the Texas State Library and the Madison County Library lists total estimated funds for the library at $110,000. This included the purchase price of the building, equipment, architects's fees, supervision and inspection, construction contracts and contingency, and the purchase of 10,000 volumes to stock the library.

     The Madison County Library was officially opened on April 27, 1969 and dedicated to Wayne Lafayette Parten.

Wayne Lafayette Parten was the father of J.R. Parten and an early day Madisonville merchant. He was born in Alabama in 1858 and died in 1940. He came to Texas and Madison County at the age of seven. An oil portrait of W.L. Parten was unveiled during the dedication ceremony and still hangs in the library. A plaque beside the portrait reads, " We should strive to leave our community in better condition than we found it." This expressed the philosophy of the Partens.

     The first Board members were: J.T. Closs, Chairman, Sterling Andrews, Tommy Shine, Boyd Bailey, Kenneth Coleman, Mrs. J.R. Parten, Mrs. Jim Baker, Mrs. W.B. Crossley, and Mrs. L.O. Thompson.

Mrs. Linda Peters, the Huntsville City Public Librarian, assisted Mrs. R.F. Synwalt. Mrs. Lynne Synwalt served as librarian for five years, and was followed by Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Woods who kept the doors open and the books shelved until Miss Bonnie McSweeney was hired. Miss McSweeney served until August of 1980. At that time, Mrs. Lynda Breeding was hired and served until her retirement in May of 1999. Mrs. Veronica Landmann (neé Stewart Grooms) began to serve the people of Madison County on June 1, 1999 and continues as librarian to the present day. Former Assistant Librarian Brenda Pearson served the county for 27 years until her retirement September 30, 2016. Assistant Librarian and former Clerk, Lindy Thomas, served from January 2015 to September 2021. Current Assistant Librarian is Shewana Winn. Library Clerks who have worked at the library: Frieda Michael, Lindy Thomas, Don Dean, Dawn Chrane, Elizabeth Ward, Mavis Burr, and others.

Madison County Library Board Members 1969