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About the Library

Image of the library

Our Vision

The vision of the Nicholas P. Sims Library is a community resource that helps build healthy families, vibrant neighborhoods, and thriving businesses -- the foundation of a strong Waxahachie.

Mission Statement


The Nicholas P. Sims Library's mission is to provide the best library services to the residents of Waxahachie in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible by:

  • Promoting reading, reading readiness programs and cooperative literacy programs.

  • Offering the opportunity for self-development to people of all ages and all stages of education.

  • Recognizing that knowledge, information, and entertainment are presented in many formats such as printed word, audio, video recordings, and computerized databases.

  • Providing reference and genealogical specialized resources to sustain, and to preserve the heritage of Waxahachie and Ellis County.

  • Supporting the educational, civic, and cultural activities of individuals, organizations, and groups in the community.

  • Maintaining collections of resources which reflect the present, past, and a vision for the future.

  • Promoting and preserving those materials which chronicle the life and culture of the citizens of Waxahachie.

  • Making library materials available to all library card holders.

History of
Sims Library

Image of the Original 1905 Building of Sims Library


Image of Sims Library in 1970


Image of Sims Library in 2017


Original Building

Nicholas P. Sims (to the left)

  • Nicholas P. Sims donated his estate to build a public library for Waxahachie

  • Library was built during 1903-1904

  • Land was donated by Waxahachie's first Mayor, Capt. W.H. Getzendaner

  • Library site was once known as Getzendaner Park

  • Opened to the public April 26, 1905

  • One of the first public libraries built in Texas

  • One of the first privately endowed libraries in Texas


Original Building

S. Weymes Smith of Ft. Worth was the original architect. The original building featured a classical Renaissance style with Doric columns. The central unit features white Vermont marble, a pressed tin ceiling, a curved bay window, and winding staircase. Sims library has many of the original pieces of furniture and book collection dating back over 100 years.


Original Cost


Original cost in 1905 was $34, 255:

  • $24, 980.95 for the building

  • $5, 540.53 for books

  • $3, 734.28 for furniture

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The J. Harry Phillips Wing

Opened June 7, 1958

  • J. Harry Phillips donated the funds to build this wing after librarian Mrs. J. R. Hood proved that children do read library books

  • Originally housed the Children's collection

  • Remodeled in 1988 to include a meeting room, restrooms, and lobby with display cases.                                                                                                                                                             

The W. H. Larkin Wing

Opened June 11, 1967

  • Houses adult fiction, mysteries, science fiction, as well as adult nonfiction

  • Mrs. Frances (Sue) Askew Larkin donated the funds to build this wing and served on the Library Board from 1966 to her death in 1980

Reference and Geneaology

Added in 1990

  • Houses the Reference, Genealogy and Texas Collections

  • Renovated in 2012 to create a Teen Room

  • Provides a quiet study area

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Opened in 1990

  • U.T. Buckner donated his estate to three non-profit organizations benefiting children, Sims Library being one

  • He specifically requested that the funds be used for the education and entertainment of children

  • Harriet Grandstaff painted a mural from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book in 1958

  • Waxahachie Junior Service League donated computers

  • Houses the children's collections

  • Includes a computer lab for children

Opened in February 2013

  • Houses the Young Adult collections

  • Includes a desktop computers, laptops, and I-Pads for teens

  • Has a computer collaborative center

  • Provides access to Xbox 360 and Wii video games

  • An activity center for teens and movie viewing area

  • Is used to host teen and home-school events throughout the year                                                                             

The Dunlap Reading Room

Opened in February 2013

  • Opened in February 2013

  • A beautifully restored reading lounge

  • Houses the Christian Fiction, Travel, Audio-Books, Foreign Language Learning, and Paperback collections, as well as the magazines and periodicals

  • Provides electrical access as well as free Wi-Fi Internet access                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

The Adult Computer Center

Opened in Febraury 2013

  • Provides computer and internet access to patrons

  • Included 12 computers available from the time the library opens until 15 minutes before close

  • Includes the ability to print for a price of .25 cents per page in black and white only


Completed in 1905

  • W. B. Reymuller provided all decorations

  • Nearly everything is original, except for a few minor repairs:

    • Stage floor

    • Drapes and window shades

    • Fabric wall coverings

  • Was restored to its original colors in 2000

  • Air conditioning and heating were installed in 1992, a gift from Mrs. Herbert (Hetty) Peters

  • Located on the second floor.

  • The lyceum is still used today for many library events, including concerts, piano recitals, plays, and debates.

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Barbara Claspell

The current Director of The Nicholas P. Sims Library is Barbara Claspell. Barbara graduated with a Master's of Library and Information Sciences.

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