In the heart of the Fairmount neighborhood, a community library sits with its doors closed and insides as tattered as a much-loved book.

Once the Fairmount Community Library at 1310 W. Allen Ave., the place offered activities beyond books — Scrabble nights, food drives, poetry nights and live music.

The Neighborhood Library quickly became a staple in the community when its doors opened in the early-2000s, but it closed in 2014 as the leadership team moved on. In 2015, a new team rebranded and reopened the library as the Fairmount Community Library.

The Neighborhood Library rebranded to The Fairmount Community Library in 2015 after leadership shifted. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

In 2019, the library closed for renovations, which were planned to last only a few months, but the pandemic made the closure much longer than expected, the library’s board president Alicia Bohannon said. Still, the nonprofit plans on continuing to write its story.

In a social media post, Near Southside Inc. announced a Paypal fundraiser to get the library back on its feet — so far, that effort has received just over $1,100.

“It’s not like we have unlimited time either. And so some of the things, it was really nice to reach out to the community and get that support,” Bohannon said. “And, right now that’s kind of the space we’re in, maybe trying to transition after almost 10 years into having different and more board members.”

The Neighborhood Library, which opened in 2000, was rebranded to the Fairmount Community Library in 2015. (Courtesy photo | Fairmount Community Library)

The library, which plans to offer more than 600 books to check out on a subscription model, has set a goal of reopening later this year if it raises its fundraising goal of $4,000. The money will be used to redo the floors inside the four rooms at the community library, Bohannon said. The library has operated on a budget of about $20,000 a year, she said, but with that, the involvement of the community shines.

“I think we were really able to do some pretty amazing things, particularly because whatever we were doing, it seems like, we always had the backup of the neighborhood,” Bohannon said. “It was almost like every time we put something on, between the volunteers and the community or whatever, it wasn’t really costing the library that much money.”

For Bohannon, Fairmount is like something out of a fairytale. The day she moved to the neighborhood from Lewisville in 2014, a neighbor offered her basil out of her home garden — a kindness she had never experienced before.

Before its 2019 closure, Bohannon aimed to create her own fairytale story — although not in a book — for the community through school supply drives, summer camps and poetry nights.

David Weuste, the director of communications for the Fairmount Neighborhood Association, said neighbors want to have the library back

“Fairmount does not have a library within walking distance, and as the city continues to remove libraries from within neighborhoods. There just aren’t these sort of free, public spaces where communities can come together,” Weuste said. “So, we’ve seen residents asking what’s needed to help bring this resource back to life pretty much since it was forced to close.”

The Fairmount Community Library has relied on volunteers’ help to revitalize and reopen its doors. Currently, the library is raising money to bring the building back to life. (Cristian ArguetaSoto | Fort Worth Report)

Cristian ArguetaSoto is the community engagement journalist at the Fort Worth Report. Contact him by email or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Cristian is a May 2021 graduate of Texas Christian University. At TCU, ArguetaSoto served as staff photographer at TCU360 and later as its visual editor, overseeing other photojournalists. A Fort Worth...