The Library Board selected the name to honor long-time San Antonio historian, author and broadcast journalist Henry Guerra, who died in 2001. Guerra, a San Antonio native, graduated from Central Catholic High School and attended St. Mary’s University. In 1939, he was hired by WOAI Radio as the first Mexican-American announcer to work for a major English-language broadcaster, and later became the first Mexican-American television announcer, on WOAI-TV (now KMOL.) Guerra served in the military in World War II. He was also development director for St. Mary’s University and international department liaison for Hemisfair ’68. Guerra’s wide range of interests included local history and he was the author of San Antonio: a Unique History and Pictorial Guide. Known for his trademark resonant baritone voice, Guerra narrated two video histories of San Antonio, The Missions of San Antonio, and Alamo: from Mission to Fortress, the latter researched and written by his wife, Mary Ann Noonan Guerra.
Don Counts, chairman of the Library Board of Trustees said, “Because of his lifelong love affair with the Library and the whole city of San Antonio, Mr. Guerra was a natural selection. It is a privilege for us to honor this San Antonio ambassador to the world.” The Board of Trustees approved the name by a vote, after soliciting nominations from the public, including residents and neighborhood associations in the area where the new Branch is to be built.
Construction on the new 15,000-square-foot Guerra Branch Library ran steadily and opened to the public on July 14, 2004. The funding of $2,799,144 for the facility was from the 1999 bond election. This project was also supported with $1 million in CDBG funds.