About the Rosenberg Library

What is the Rosenberg Library?

Located at 2310 Sealy, Rosenberg Library is the only public library on Galveston Island, and is the oldest continuously run library in the state of Texas. A blend of old and new, the building houses four floors of services for all ages including a collection of print books and audiobooks, newspapers and magazines, and our historic archives.

Around the library visitors will find the popular Children’s library, two computer labs, a makerspace with a 3D Printer, the Galveston & Texas History Center, art and history exhibits, and much more. The Library offers free community events every month and provides space for non-profits through the library’s dedicated meeting rooms. The Rosenberg Library also offers a vast e-library, completely free for cardholders.

History of the Rosenberg Library

About the Library

The Rosenberg Library architecture is a blend of two eras. The original building was finished and dedicated on June 22, 1904, the birthday of its patron, Henry Rosenberg. In 1971, the Library was expanded with the construction of the Moody Memorial Wing. This doubled the floor space, allowing for a children’s library, a history center, museum space, and later, a computer lab.

Originally the successor to the Galveston Mercantile Library, founded in 1871, the Rosenberg Library is the oldest public library in Texas in continuous operation. With funding provided through a bequest from Henry Rosenberg, the Rosenberg Library Association was formed pursuant to a charter granted by the State of Texas on July 10, 1900. This allowed them to operate and provide free library services to all Galvestonians. Since its incorporation, the institution has been governed by a board of twenty trustees, who meet annually to elect a nine-member board of directors.

In May 1901, a plot of land at the northwest corner of Tremont and Sealy was purchased for $18,500. The Board of Directors employed Alfred F. Rosenheim of St. Louis as a consulting architect in a competition for the design of the building amongst Ackerman & Ross of New York, Eames & Young of St. Louis, Thomas H. Kimball of Omaha, and local Galveston architects. Two local architects, George B. Stowe and Conlon & Koeppe, were awarded prizes of $250 each for their designs, but the award for the work was ultimately given to Eames & Young for a “fire-proof building with two stories and basement, to cost $100,000, the building to contain rooms for the usual library departments with a capacity of 60,000 volumes, and also to contain a lecture hall to seat 500 or more people.” The construction of the building was contracted to Harry Devlin of Galveston, at a final cost of $155,000. Rosenberg Library officially opened for inspection June 22, 1904, Henry Rosenberg’s birthday, and to the public the following day. A year later it absorbed the collections of the Galveston Public Library (Galveston Mercantile Library), thus formalizing its new role as the public library for the city of Galveston.

In 2023, the top floor of the 1904 Rosenberg Wing was restored to its original, beauty and updated to the structural excellence of the 21st century. Thanks to the generous contributions of many donors, library visitors can now experience this historic space up close along with expanded library events. The space was renamed Trustees Hall to honor the hundreds of trustees who have dedicated time and philanthropy to the library since 1904.

We are grateful that so many people have loved Rosenberg Library over the years, and that the Galveston community continues to cherish the library with a generous zeal that would make Henry Rosenberg proud.

The Galveston & Texas History Center

The Galveston & Texas History Center collects materials relating to Galveston and early Texas. Its history began in 1871 with the Galveston Historical Society. The history of how the Center started and became part of the Rosenberg Library can be found on the GTHC website.