Selected Texas libraries will soon undertake new projects with funding from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). Workforce development resources, tools for promoting tech literacy and a wide range of impactful community programs topped the list of grant proposals recently approved by TSLAC. Agency commissioners awarded 42 library grants totaling $1,168,717 million for numerous Texas libraries and institutions of higher education at their July 29 meeting in Austin.
The commission awards funding through several library grant programs focusing on special projects, technology, reading and literacy initiatives, interlibrary resource collaboration and digitization efforts. The majority of funding for these local awards comes from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in Washington, D.C.
“TSLAC is proud to support public libraries throughout the state as they deliver critical information services to their communities that support education, access to technology and workforce development,” said TSLAC Director and Librarian Gloria Meraz. “The funds provided by our federal partners allows libraries to respond to local needs and bring a wide array of resources and services to Texans.”
“The Commission thrilled to advance some truly transformational projects designed to offer Texans the tools necessary to meet the ever-changing needs of their families and communities,” said TSLAC Chair Martha Wong. “These funds from IMLS are essential in allowing us to support the work carried out statewide by the informational professionals and citizens whom we serve.”
A full list of statewide award winners can be found www.tsl.texas.gov/grants. A sample of winning libraries shows the diversity of projects and communities supported through TSLAC grants:
Special Projects Grants
Bedford Public Library – Food Education ($25,000)
The Bedford Public Library will create a FED: Food Education Program focused on educating families about food and nutrition through hands-on cooking, food demonstrations and gardening classes.
Mesquite Public Library – Wi-Fi Hotspot Service for Underserved Populations ($11,160)
The Mesquite Public Library System will use grant funding to cover 12 months of unlimited data for 30 T-Mobile Wi-Fi hotspots currently owned by the library that are available for check out to city residents.
El Paso Public Library – Digital Skills @ Your Library ($74,971)
The El Paso Public Library will partner with EveryoneOn to provide Digital Skills classes for the community library branches and at other local partner locations across the city. Grant funds will be used to hire staff and purchase equipment to support classes.
Pottsboro Area Public Library – Public Libraries and Public Health ($24,651)
The Pottsboro Area Public Library will address health literacy and digital health literacy inequity in the rural Pottsboro community through education provided by a Community Health Worker or Health Sciences Librarian, a virtual health room and public health learning opportunities and resources.
University of Dallas Cowan-Blakeley Memorial Library – Core Textbook Collection for Pell-Eligible First Generation Students ($71,228)
The Cowan-Blakeley Memorial Library at the University of Dallas in Irving will launch the Core Textbook Collection for Pell-Eligible First Generation Students. The program will better support first generation students from underrepresented groups by providing equal access to required core textbooks. Providing access to required core textbooks during the 2022-2023 and future academic years will be an essential resource, beneficial to student learning and research.
Texas Reads Grant
Bryan+College Station Public Library System – Teens Read ($3,334)
The Bryan+College Station Public Library System will create a teen book club, Teens Read, at the Larry J. Ringer Public Library Branch. Goals include engaging local teens with the library and placing special emphasis on fostering the love of learning and reading.
Cross Plains Public Library – StoryWalk Project ($7,554)
The Crossplains Public Library will launch a StoryWalk® outdoor exhibit composed of 16 metal stands with angled frames containing the laminated pages of a book, so that children, parents and others can walk and read a children’s book—even when the library is closed—while enjoying the butterflies, birds and flowers. The project will promote early literacy, physical activity and family time together in nature.
Nueces County Public Library – 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten ($9,975)
The Nueces County Public Library will launch The Every Child Ready to Read – 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Literacy Program. The program will emphasize early childhood and family literacy and lifelong learning. The program will be a new component of the library’s early literacy effort, tying into Family Place programming.
TexTreasures Original Grant
Cooke County Library – Gainesville Daily Register Digitization Project ($25,000)
The Cooke County Library will digitize the Gainesville Daily Register, 1947 – 1956. The digitized images will be added to the collection of Cooke County Newspapers accessible through the University of North Texas Libraries’ Portal to Texas History. This is a multiphase project that will result in the digitization and free accessibility of all issues, the oldest surviving newspaper in Gainesville and Cooke County, providing an invaluable resource to those researching events and individuals in North Texas.
Houston Community College – Houston Forward Times Newspaper Digitization Project ($25,000)
Houston Community College (HCC) will hire a processing archivist to preserve costumes, accessories and material with enduring value in a logical way, describe the arrangement in a digital EAD finding aid, and verify that all basic documentation is completed for the physical archive located at Houston Community College. This project will support fashion historical research by improving access to and the preservation of a collection with strong Texas designer and collector interest; strengthen the visibility of the collection; and ultimately enable HCC to establish improved methodologies for future mass digitization of the materials.
Texas A&M University Corpus Christi – Corpus Christi Coffee Club Digitization and Transcription Project ($17,952)
Special Collections at Bell Library at TX A&M-Corpus Christi will digitize and transcribe the Corpus Christi Coffee Club VHS Collection, consisting of 739 tapes, donated by Rey Madrigal. This public programming television show was a popular civic forum for the Latinx community in the 1990s. The videos document the perspectives of Hispanic citizens and their concerns for equality.
University of North Texas Libraries – Jewish Herald-Voice Newspaper Digitization Project ($25,000)
The University of North Texas Libraries will digitize 25,000 pages of the Houston, Texas, newspaper the Jewish Herald-Voice, spanning 1949-1979. These newspaper issues, when digitized, will be made openly accessible on the Portal to Texas History (https://texashistory.unt.edu), in the Texas Digital Newspaper Program collection.