Best Practices Awards Spotlight: Wilson County

Strategic Alliances Expand Library Services, Engage Community

By Roland Gilbert

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At one time, Wilson County had only one state-accredited, county-funded library in Floresville and a small, all-volunteer library in Stockdale to serve its 48,500 mostly rural residents. Then Librarian Nicki Stohr spearheaded an expansion initiative to serve her neighbors better. 

With commissioners court approval and business community support, new partnerships help provide public library services to every incorporated area of the county.

In recognition, the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) has given a 2018 County Best Practices Award to Wilson County for its Power of a Library
Card initiative.

The library’s mission, “Transforming lives through knowledge and information,” fueled Stohr’s resolve to deliver library services better throughout the county. 

The first milestone was the addition of an outdoor vending machine-style kiosk in LaVernia, subsequently moved to Poth. Partnerships with local business owners and support from county employees also ensured the successful operation of two branch libraries in LaVernia and Stockdale.

Judge Sara Canady (L) and librarian Nicki Stohr (R)

Visitor traffic has nearly tripled since 2015. “The library has managed to save Wilson County taxpayers $1,155,525 by having items available for checkout instead of having to purchase the same materials,” said Stohr.

“I’m encouraged by the concerted effort between Wilson County’s officials and its business community to invest the time and resources necessary to expand valuable library services,” said TAC Executive Director Gene Terry. “We hope this award inspires other counties to leverage more best practices and continue discovering new solutions to better serve Texans.”

The biennial County Best Practices Awards Program recognizes the efforts of county leaders in implementing innovative, scalable and replicable solutions to challenges facing local government throughout Texas. Areas of focus include financial and general management, public safety and corrections, health and human services, technology, community improvements and other county-related responsibilities.

Wilson County was one of eight Texas counties selected to receive a TAC 2018 County Best Practices Award. Look for more spotlights in future issues of County magazine. Learn more about the County Best Practices Awards program at