About the New Braunfels Public Library

Mission:  Provide the community with equal access to physical and virtual environments that support and encourage lifelong learning and enrichment.

The New Braunfels Public Library was born before it had any building or space to call its own. The public library was created by a group of concerned citizens who came together on March 9, 1928, at the home of Mrs. M. C. Hagler to organize a library association, which would begin the necessary work to establish a public library in New Braunfels. 

According the minutes of their first meeting in 1928, the founders of the library agreed that the time was ripe to establish a library. A “book shower” was held in the New Braunfels High School auditorium that year with the request attendees bring a book to give to the new library. The library’s first space was a room in Harry Landa’s store. Patrons paid a subscription price of $1 per year in order to help fund the library’s book purchases. Some of the titles available to the public on opening day — June 15, 1928 — were The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder and Disraeli by Ander Maurois.

For the first 10 years of its existence, from 1928 to 1938, the New Braunfels Public library struggled to find and keep a permanent room in someone else’s building for its growing collection of books and its services. In 1938, with the gift of land from the Sophienburg Museum Association and a pledge from Emmie Seele Faust of $5,000 for construction costs, the New Braunfels Public Library’s first building was erected. The final, actual bill for the cost of construction was about $7,500, and Faust paid it in full. 

To honor her contribution, the library changed its name to the “Emmie Seele Faust Memorial Library.” This remained  the library's name for 30 years, and still today, Emmie Seele Faust's name is visible on the stone building she financed on the grounds of the Sophienburg Museum. Her building stands as a lasting monument to her, her generosity, and her support of a public library.

In the 1960s the public library outgrew the Faust building. A variety of solutions were considered, including expanding the Faust building, finding another building, or finding a new location. At one point, there was some hope that the old New Braunfels Hospital could be remodeled as the public library with both city and county funds, but the Aug. 8, 1965, minutes of the library board record that plans to remodel the hospital were abandoned because there was a lack of ingress and egress on a two-way thoroughfare.

A solution to the library’s space problems in the 1960s came with the City’s purchase of the Schmidt land behind the Faust library building. A $100,000 matching government grant, $66,500 from the City, and a gift of $80,000 from Bruno Dittlinger and Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Liebscher financed the construction of a new building to house the library. Accompanying the Dittlinger/Liebscher gift was the request that the name of the library be changed to honor the donors’ mother and father, Mr. and Mrs. Hippolyte Dittlinger. Mrs. Liebscher and her mother, Mrs. Dittlinger, had been present at the very first library meeting in 1928. The request was honored, and building was named the "Dittlinger Memorial Library."

Thirty years later, the library had once again outgrown its building, and on Oct. 16, 1999, the public library opened at its new (and present) location at 700 E. Common St. as the New Braunfels Public Library.