Friends of the Rockwall County Library was organized in 1972 for the purpose of promoting the interest and welfare of the library. Over the past four decades, Friends has become the major advocate for the Rockwall County Library.
Friends enlisted widespread community support for the construction of a new county library building financed by two bond elections, one in 2000 to purchase land and a second election in 2004 to fund the construction. The $11.5 million dollars of construction bond funds provided the new building with basic furniture, equipment and fixtures. Friends formed a Capital Campaign Committee to raise money for additional furnishings, books, materials and equipment.
By the end of December 2008, Friends had raised more than $440,000 from generous citizens, local businesses, grants and awards as well as from supporters outside Rockwall County. The names of donors were acknowledged as a part of the Honorary Committee plaque and the Giving Tree, both located in the foyer of the library. Larger donations were acknowledged in the naming of various rooms.
Since 2000, Friends has been the primary financial support for the Reading for Adults program administered through the Rockwall County Library. The program offers classes in GED, Adult Literacy, English as a Second Language and Citizenship Test Preparation. Students include residents from more than 50 nations.
The Hartman Award
Since 1980, the Hartman Award has been given annually to a Friends member who gives of themselves for the good of Friends and the library. Named in honor of Alfred and Grace Hartman, the recipient receives a piece of Hartman china, if available, or a book is donated to the library in the recipient’s name.
The Celia Hays Award
The Celia Hays Award was established in 2001 to honor an outstanding library volunteer. The award is named in honor of Celia Hayes, Director of the Rockwall County Library from 1976-1981.