Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

What is Loan Star Libraries?

Loan Star Libraries is a direct state aid program for Texas public libraries. The program is predicated on a partnership between the state of Texas and local political jurisdictions intended to

  • ensure access to adequate public library resources and services for all Texans.
  • provide an incentive to local communities to extend public library services without charge to those residing outside each public library's legal service area.
  • build the capacity of each public library to serve as the information resource and lifelong learning center for their community.
  • improve each public library's ability to provide access points to e-government.
  • provide funds to strengthen public libraries statewide by improving and expanding library services in over 500 Texas communities.

Why is Loan Star Libraries needed in Texas?

Perhaps more than any other public institution, libraries help fight inequity by reaching those who might not have ready access to information, offering them a better chance of success. Currently, libraries cannot fulfill this growing need because they cannot afford to stay open enough hours each week to meet public demand, nor to have enough qualified staff to offer extensive public computer training and reference services. Texas public libraries need help in reaching people at all stages of life—from infants to the elderly—with specialized programs that enrich their lives and help them meet their personal goals.

Although local communities already supply a minimum 95% of library funding in Texas, they are often unable to provide the resources needed to meet the increasing library needs of their citizens. Populations grow and needs for technology access and training increase, yet library budgets remain static, or worse, fall. Particularly in rural and impoverished areas, public libraries are in a funding crisis.

While public library service is primarily a local responsibility, the state has the responsibility to see that collections and services are adequate to meet local needs where local resources are not sufficient to achieve that adequacy. The state has a vested interest in supporting increased networking and resource sharing among libraries and to provide an incentive for local political jurisdictions to eliminate barriers to access.

Often, the library is the only outlet in a community in which people can explore the vast technology resources available today. Texas libraries need a continuous flow of resources—funding for computers, information literacy training, and technical assistance—to keep pace with demand for technology-based services.

Will my library be eligible for funds from Loan Star Libraries?

All legally established public libraries in Texas that meet the Minimum Standards for Accreditation of Public Libraries in the State Library System as set forth in the Library Systems Act are eligible to receive some level of funding under the Loan Star Libraries program.

How much money will my library receive?

The amount of money a library receives each year is dependent on the

  • amount of the Loan Star Libraries appropriation
  • number of eligible public libraries
  • local expenditures for the operation and maintenance of the library
  • presence of non-resident fees or participation in TexShare Card Program

Will my library still be able to charge non-resident fees?

Yes. Loan Star Libraries does not force libraries to eliminate non-resident fees. It does encourage libraries to drop their fees by offering incentives to do so. Eligible libraries who drop their fees receive a higher level of funding from Loan Star Libraries.

What can my library do with its grant?

State aid can be used for any public library operating expenses, including the expansion and improvement of existing public library services and programs and the establishment of new services and programs. State aid cannot be used for the purchase or construction of a library building or library quarters.

Libraries are encouraged to use the funds for highly visible programs that will bring the greatest benefit to the community and the greatest attention to resources available at the library. Libraries should be able to document the impact their awards have had on their communities.

Will my city or county be able to reduce its funding support of my library when my library receives Loan Star Libraries funding?

Funds appropriated for the Loan Star Libraries Program are intended to supplement, not replace, local funding received by the library. State funds are also not intended to replace funds provided through interlocal agreements between jurisdictions for the provision of library service by one jurisdiction to residents of another.

Since 70% of the appropriation for Loan Star Libraries is allocated as a match on local expenditures, the more local money spent on library services, the higher the state aid amounts earned. Conversely, if local library expenditures decrease, the state aid amount would also decrease proportionately. Libraries must maintain a certain level of local expenditures to meet the minimum standards for accreditation of public libraries, and therefore stay eligible to receive state aid.

What does "serving non-residents" mean in the Loan Star Libraries program?

"Serving non-residents" means that a library offers free library services to Texas residents on the same basis that it offers services to resident customers. The Loan Star Libraries program does not cover out-of-state customers.

What is the difference between dropping non-resident fees and the TexShare Card program?

Libraries that drop non-resident fees offer the same free service to Texas residents as it offers to resident customers. The TexShare Card program allows a library to set different limits for TexShare cardholders than the limits set for resident customers. Libraries must participate in the TexShare Card program in order to honor TexShare Cards.

What is the LSL Task Force?

The charge of the Loan Star Libraries Task Force was to analyze the current LSL formula. More information about the Task Force.

Who should I contact for additional information about the program?

Valicia Greenwood
Library Development and Networking Division
Texas State Library and Archives Commission
PO Box 12927
Austin, TX  78711
512-463-5466 or 1-800-252-9386

Page last modified: January 9, 2012