This story originally appeared in the February 2018 issue with the headline “A Book Lover’s Paradise.” 

Chic in black, Melba Whatley surveys her library, a 2,400-square-foot modern structure with vaulted ceilings connected to her Tarrytown home in Austin via a walkway. Whatley devotes her time to her work on the boards of the Contemporary Austin and the Waller Creek Conservancy, of which she’s a founder. Rice University professor Carlos Jiménez designed the library, home to about 10,000 books, filed into ten-shelf-high maple bookcases. “It’s a great disaster to collect books,” Whatley says. “They require a lot of space. My husband, Ted, is a teacher of history, so he had a large collection of history and biography, and I had fiction and art books. We were meant to be together with those two collections.”