Rosenberg LibraryRoenberg Library
2310 Sealy Street, Galveston, TX 77550-2220
(409) 763-8854
fax (409) 763-0275
Library Information lamps Discover Rosenberg Library

A library information series designed to give patrons and visitors to the site a closer look at the many special rooms and features of the Rosenberg Library. 

ROSENBERG LIBRARY - Friends Reading Room & Book Shop

Friends Reading Room and Book ShopBook Shop sign

On the main floor of the Rosenberg Library, at the end of the grand hallway and just before you pass into the newer Moody wing, on your right you will find the Friends Reading Room. In the original building plans, this area was the northernmost part of the general book room where the browsing shelves were located.

1904 floor plan

1904 General Book Room
General Book Room ca. 1904

A description of the general book room in the Board of Directors' publication Henry Rosenberg, 1824-1893, published in 1918, reads as follows:

Original circulation desk ca 1904"Beyond the lending desk, opening from the corridor without partition, is the general book room occupying the whole west end of the main story. This room is used both for the lending department and the reference department. The children's department also was here until the growth of the Library in size and use compelled its removal in 1915 to the larger quarters in the second story originally designed for this purpose. The electric lighting in the corridor and generally throughout the building is from lights with reflectors placed near the ceiling. Two stairways with marble steps, beautiful newel posts, and wrought iron railing lead from the north and south sides of the corridor to the second story."

Photo right: Circulation desk leading to general book room ca. 1904

In 2010, during "Rosenberg Restored - Phase IV," the library underwent extensive interior renovations and restoration that included what was originally the general book room, but had since been modified into a periodicals room (now the Gibson Reading Room) and a two-story shelving area (affectionately known as "the cage", long out of use by the public by then). New lighting and carpeting, refinished antique oak tables and chairs, and fresh paint restored the original look of the library. Entrances were created to the Gibson Reading Room and the Friends Reading Room, opposite each other, that reflect the look of original oak grille partitions on the upper floor leading into what was then the children's rooms.

By the summer of 2011, renovation in this area of the library was completed, and it was officially opened to the public. Friends of the Rosenberg Library moved their book carts of gently used books for sale onto shelves in the Friends Reading Room to create the Friends Book Shop. The HVAC (heating and air conditioning) system and electrical systems that suffered damage in late 2008 during Hurricane Ike were replaced and moved from the first floor onto higher ground behind the walls in the Friends Reading Room area.

Friends ShopThe Friends of the Rosenberg Library were organized in 1940 to help during a time of increasing austerity for the library and charged with the task of increasing public interest in library services and functions and securing funding for its resources.

Over 250 Galvestonians joined the Friends in the first month and two memorial gifts established the Winterbotham Room and Morgan Memorial Collection. New books were purchased through membership dues, and through the years, the Friends have found other creative ways to raise revenue for the library, not just for books, but for the structure itself, furnishings and staff support.

The Friends of the Rosenberg Library hold a yearly sale of used books, the profits from which are dedicated to the purchase of circulating materials such as books, CDs, DVDs, etc. Books for the annual sale are from public donations. If you would like to donate gently used materials to the sale, the Friends ask that donated books be in good, clean, readable condition (think - “nearly new”) and that non-fiction books be up to date. Also accepted are audio books, music CDs and DVDs. The Friends cannot accept cassette tapes, video tapes, record albums or magazines. Please phone the library at 763-8854 for information on delivering donations.

Do you have a question about the Rosenberg Library building or some part of it that piques your interest?  Let us know, and maybe we can help you.  Email   Also, see the other entries in this Discover series by clicking here.