The Lone Star College-Tomball Community Library has added thousands of books to its genealogical resources after the former Chaparral Genealogical Society and Library donated its collection to the library last year, Janna Hoglund, director of the Tomball library, said in a phone interview. An open house event is set for March 7 to showcase the Chaparral Collection alongside new equipment to digitize records, Hoglund said.

"We're always looking for opportunities to expand," she said.

The Chaparral Collection was previously housed in the Chaparral Genealogical Library in Magnolia off Friendship Drive. During the COVID[19]pandemic, the library closed, Hoglund said.

Hoglund said Kyla Bayang, who works on Hoglund's team at the Tomball library, was a member of the genealogical society and brought the idea to Hoglund to house the genealogical records in Tomball.

"Because of her passion, we started offering genealogy classes, it was even before COVID and everything because there was a need for it; people were asking us," Hoglund said. "Kyla brought to me the opportunity: 'Janna, is there anyway that we can work with Chaparral [Genealogy] Society?' Because they have such an exclusive collection of genealogy materials that they collected for decades, which also started [in] Tomball originally. So it obviously meant a lot for us historically, for our community."

During the pandemic, Hoglund said the library then started discussing how much inventory it could accommodate. According to library information, the collection includes more than 5,700 reference materials, including family histories, yearbooks, microfilm, historical era books and rare books.

Hoglund said the library is able to display almost all of the collection after reorganizing its library materials, a project that was finalized in early 2022. The collection is housed on the library's second floor, next to the records area and is available for in-library use only.

"By being able to partner, we were able to preserve this unique collection for the community, because if we wouldn't have stepped in, we don't know what could have happened. They might have had to break it down in pieces and donate to other libraries," Hoglund said.

In the same space, the library is also rolling out its Digitization Station near the Tomball Innovation Lab. Hoglund said the new equipment is publicly accessible and allows patrons to scan photographs, negatives, slides, artwork and documents as well as convert media to a digital format. She said the equipment allows patrons to preserve their history.

The digitization equipment was purchased with a $10,000 grant from the American Library Association through the Endowment for the Humanities, Hoglund said, as well as with support from the Friends of the Tomball Community Library.

The come-and-go open house is set for March 7 from 2-7 p.m. with a ribbon cutting at 5:30 p.m.