Rendering of the future San Antonio Public Library Schaefer Branch. Courtesy image.

District 2 is getting a new library, and that library officially now has a name. At their April 22 meeting the San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) board trustees officially voted to name the new branch after the Schaefer family, who donated the Eastside land where the newest branch will open by late 2016.

The naming process concluded with the board vote after a series of public meetings and substantial dialogue.

“The committee had quite a bit of input on the name of this library,” said Linda Nairn, chair of the SAPL naming committee.

District 2 is deeply concerned with preserving its vibrant history and honoring the civil rights heroes whose legacies live on in the institutions of the Eastside. As public and private investment picks up, especially on the near-Eastside, long-time residents hope that their stories won’t be forgotten.

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The San Antonio Public Library Foundation (SAPLF) feels that the Schaefer family fits the bill perfectly. Sam Schaefer began development in District 2 after World War II. He and his family continued to invest in the area for decades, even as other developers shied away, claiming that the school district was a liability for real estate development.

“He hung in there and hung in there,” said Susannah Schaefer Carroll of her father, John Schaefer.

John Schaefer donated the 5.73 acres to the city, freeing the $6 million bond allocation to be spent on new construction, technology, and the collection. The concentration of funds will produce a library nearly twice as large as the new District 6 library, according to SAPL District 6 board member Lora Eckler.

An additional $100,000 will fund a public art piece by Cakky Brawley.

Rick Cavender, a principal in the Cavender Auto Group also known for fronting the Rick Cavender Band, is leading the fundraiser effort to construct a Kingdom for Kids Playground program on the Schaefer Library campus. If our count is right, this will be the 12th Kingdom for Kids Playground constructed in San Antonio since Cavender launched the program here in 1997.

District 2 Info

K.T. Whitehead, who sits on the board of the SAPLF, spoke during the “citizens to be heard” portion of the board meeting in favor of the proposed name. She reasoned that appropriate recognition of donors will encourage others to do the same. The SAPL system is always in need of donations, monetary and in-kind. 

The new structure will be located on Hwy 87 west of Foster Road. It sits on a SAWS easement which the SAPLF hopes will allow for connectivity to nearby creeks and greenways.

“That library will be a landmark for this community,” said Tracey Bennett, president of the SAPLF.

K.T. Whithead (l), Tracey Bennett, ____ Carroll, Susannah Schaefer Carroll, and Sam Schaefer Jr.  Photo by Bekah McNeel.
K.T. Whithead (l), Tracey Bennett, James Carroll, Susannah Schaefer Carroll, and Sam Schaefer Photo by Bekah McNeel.

*Featured/top image: Rendering of the future San Antonio Public Library Schaefer Branch. Courtesy image.

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Bekah McNeel is a native San Antonian. You can also find her at her blog,, on Twitter @BekahMcneel, and on Instagram @wanderbekah.