Texas State Library and Archives Commission Awards $1.8 Million in Federal ARPA Funds to Texas Libraries

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) recently awarded approximately $1.8 million in funding to 40 Texas libraries under its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Grants Program through the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

TSLAC ARPA grants are designed to help communities respond directly and immediately to the pandemic as well as to related economic and community needs through equitable approaches. A full list of recipients can be found at www.tsl.texas.gov/ldn/arpa/recipients.

The Texas Supports Libraries Grant Program will make it possible for libraries to expand their services and resources and help provide equitable access to information and technology. The Texas Telehealth Grant Program will provide libraries with the equipment and resources needed to facilitate a telehealth project at their facilities. The Texas Digital Navigators Grant Program will help libraries develop and implement a unique Digital Navigator program to help close the digital divide in their communities.

“Communities across the state will benefit from the resources and services made possible with this funding. Libraries will be able to increase access to digital resources and technologies as well as to support education, workforce readiness and other local needs as libraries continue their critical work serving their communities,” said TSLAC Director and Librarian Gloria Meraz.

“We are excited to be able to support these transformational projects that give Texas families and communities the tools they need to meet their needs,” said Texas State Library and Archives Commission Chair Martha Wong. “These funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services are essential in allowing us to support the work being advanced statewide by the libraries and citizens TSLAC serves.”

TSLAC ARPA Grants recipient snapshots:

Texas Supports Libraries Grant
Fort Worth Public Library – Texas Supports Libraries Program – Workforce Development Grant
Amount Awarded: $24,282.00
The Fort Worth Public Library will implement a workforce development program based on the Northstar Digital Learning curriculum and training. The project includes staff development, public education and training, as well as a professional public marketing strategy to address needs for digital skills inclusion, technology education and inequities in opportunity and accessibility.

Jeff Davis County Library – Connecting Jeff Davis County to the World
Amount Awarded: $9,795.00
The Jeff Davis County Library will provide scheduled and emergency internet access via satellite Wi-Fi to unserved residents of Jeff Davis County. Library patrons who are equipped with digital devices and Wi-Fi will more easily access social services enrollment, job and student loan applications, telemedicine, as well as other resources.

Texas Telehealth Grant
Jeff Davis County Library – Healthy Jeff Davis County
Amount Awarded: 25,000.00
The Jeff Davis County Library will increase capacity to provide telehealth and related technology assistance by improving the equipment used for telehealth appointments and assuring confidentiality by soundproofing the private meeting room. The library partners with Amistad, a social services agency in El Paso, to offer a private space, computer, internet connection and technical assistance for a counseling service for veterans and their spouses. The current room is not soundproof and is not as private as it should be.

McAllen Public Library – Care4Me Program
Amount Awarded: $25,000.00
The McAllen Public Library will allow community patrons to utilize the necessary technology and resources to access telehealth services for any doctor appointments. Residents will be able to utilize a designated space at the library to log in to their personal telehealth provider and attend their appointments and/or follow-ups.

Texas Digital Navigators Grant
Brownsville Public Library – BPLS- Beyond the Digital Stars
Amount Awarded: $80,000
The Brownsville Public Library System will allow patrons to utilize iPads in their own homes through a lending program offered at both library branches. The program helps meet a critical need for internet access in an underserved community. The COVID-19 pandemic amplified the stark need for improved internet access as basic services became available exclusively online.

Wilson County Public Libraries – Wilson County Digital Navigator Grant Program
Amount Awarded: $110,000
The Wilson County Public Library will hire an additional Librarian who has obtained their Master of Library Sciences Degree and will provide solutions for internet connectivity issues among the rural areas of the county.

Full information about this and other TSLAC library grant programs, plus a complete list of recipients can be found at www.tsl.texas.gov/ldn/arpa/recipients.