Upcoming Webinar: New Grant Program – TSLAC Community Advancement Packages (CAP) Grant Program Webinar

Join us on Wednesday, January 26, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. for a webinar to introduce Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s (TSLAC) newest grant program – The Community Advancement Packages (CAP) Grant Program. In this webinar, TSLAC staff Laura Tadena, Equity and Inclusion Consultant, Patrick Lloyd, Community Resilient Consultant, and Bethany Wilson, Grant Coordinator, will provide a funding overview and essential details about the grant program and award information.

Attendees will hear about Community Advancement Packages (CAP) designed to help libraries respond directly to identified community needs by purchasing items that will support and advance community development through library-sponsored programming and services. Each Community Advancement Package is designed to include eligible items that will assist libraries as they expand community services in specifically targeted areas. We will also answer questions from attendees and provide instructions on how to apply for the grant.

REGISTER for the upcoming CAP Webinar.

About the TSLAC Community Advancement Packages (CAP) Grant Program

The goal of the grant program is to assist libraries as they expand community services in specifically targeted areas. Target areas and available packages are described below:

PROGRAMMING & SERVICES: Packages include equipment and tools to support in-person, hybrid, and virtual programming and services. Other items can include materials and resources for outreach programming that reduce barriers to library spaces and/or provide access to inclusive services and programs beyond the walls of the library (retirement facilities, day-care centers, schools, and other community spaces/group living facilities).

TECHNOLOGY: Packages include equipment and tools to meet libraries’ growing technology needs, assist with marketing material development, and support in-person, hybrid, and virtual programming and services. In addition, materials and resources that reduce barriers to library spaces and/or provide access can also be included in the packages.

SPECIAL COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT: Packages to assist with the expansion or development of the current collection. Items can include print, audio-visual, and non-subscription based computer software programs (e-books or e-resources on subscriptions not included). Also included in bundles are general collection development supplies and storage for new items. **Not intended for general collection development.

CRITICAL NEEDS: General supplies to support library operations and responding to unplanned and immediate community needs.

Questions:

To learn more about the TSLAC CAP Grant Program, please visit www.tsl.texas.gov/ldn/cap. Applications open Wednesday, January 26, 2022, and will close Friday, April 1, 2022.

If you have questions about the TSLAC CAP Grant Program or need assistance with the application process, please get in touch with the Grants Administrator at grants@tsl.texas.gov. This project is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to TSLAC under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.

Texas Public Libraries Encouraged to Apply for Federal Broadband Funding Through State Library

New promotional video from TSLAC to support E-rate and the Libraries Connecting Texas program

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) has announced the application window for federal E-Rate funding is now open. From Jan. 12, accredited Texas public libraries can apply to receive discounts on monthly Internet access costs and most anything to do with bringing high-speed Internet to the library (including equipment and cabling).

E-rate was created to ensure schools and libraries have access to affordable high-speed broadband to support digital learning and robust connectivity. It is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

In Texas, a majority of public libraries are eligible for an 80% discount, with more than a quarter eligible for a whopping 90%. That means most participating libraries only have to pay 10-20% of their Internet costs, with E-rate paying the rest of the bill. High-speed Internet (aka “broadband”) has become a necessity in public libraries, and E-rate is the chief means to support and sustain this crucial service as costs rise and demand increases. This is non-competitive funding—a library just has to fill out the forms correctly to receive the discount. Libraries must be accredited by TSLAC in order to be eligible for E-rate discounts.

This year, TSLAC has partnered with professional coaching firm E-Rate Central to make applying as straightforward as possible for participating libraries. This one-on-one support will guide applicants successfully through the entire process.

“Why should your library participate in E-rate and use our free coaches? E-rate is the main method available to public libraries to acquire and afford faster speed, and then continue to sustain those costs into the future,” said TSLAC Director and State Librarian Gloria Meraz. “Faster speed means that Texas libraries are able to continue providing the myriad services that heavily rely on high-speed broadband and have rapidly become the lifeline for living successfully in the 21st century.”

Accredited Texas public libraries are encouraged to apply well before the deadline of February 22, 2022 which is the last possible date to ensure participation. Visit www.tsl.texas.gov/erate to learn more and email Henry Stokes to get the process started.

2021 Family Place Library Grant Applications Close Soon!

APPLICATIONS WILL CLOSE SOON! This year’s Family Place Library grant application will close for submissions on Friday, December 3, 2021. The application is entirely online and can be accessed after logging into the TSLAC Grants Management System (GMS).

Family Place Library Notice of Funding Opportunity (PDF)

The link below will take you to the GMS site so you can log in to begin your application:

BEGIN FY22 FAMILY PLACE LIBRARY GRANT APPLICATION

NOW OPEN! 2022 Family Place Grant Application

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is pleased to announce that the FY 2022 Family Place Libraries grant application will open on Monday, November 1! TSLAC is looking for qualified libraries to attend online Family Place Training and implement the program in their libraries.

The purpose of this grant is to create a welcoming, family-centered environment that empowers caregivers of young children as they become their child’s first teachers. This grant will provide funding for the equipment and training necessary for each library to:

  • Host workshops for children ages 0-3 and their caregivers.
    • Develop an interactive space for this age group to play and learn in the library.
    • Forge strong partnerships with organizations serving young children and their families.

In addition to offering this opportunity to new libraries interested in the program, TSLAC is also offering established, qualified, Family Place Libraries the opportunity to apply for funding to expand the Family Place program into one additional branch in their library system this fiscal year.

If chosen to participate in the 2022 cohort, new and expansion libraries can expect to have staff members attend online training in May 2022. Following training, TSLAC will reimburse participating libraries up to $6,000 to purchase the supplies necessary to launch a successful Family Place Library location at their facility.

APPLICATIONS WILL OPEN MONDAY, NOVEMBER 1! The applications will close for submissions on Friday, December 3, 2021. The application is entirely online and can be accessed after logging into the TSLAC Grants Management System.

As you prepare to apply for the grant, please pay close attention to the appropriate Notice of Funding Opportunity. Inside, you will find information on eligibility requirements as well as a scoring matrix that will provide guidance on the best information to include in your application to ensure the best scoring outcome.

Family Place Library Notice of Funding Opportunity

The link below will take you to the GMS site so you can log in to begin your application:

BEGIN FY22 FAMILY PLACE LIBRARY GRANT APPLICATION

IMPORTANT!! When you reach the budget portion of your application, you are only required to fill in the line specific to Materials & Supplies. In the space for a description, please type in “Recommended Family Place Supplies.” The dollar amount should be $6,000.

This project is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.

Only A Few Days Left to Apply for Texas Telehealth Funding!

Act now to take advantage of available funds set aside by TSLAC for Texas libraries to pursue telehealth projects.

Instructions for how to apply are here: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ldn/arpa/telehealth

Symbol of a library building embedded with a laptop displaying virtual doctor's visit

Want to set up a space at your library for your patrons to have virtual visits with doctors?  Funding from the Texas Telehealth Grant includes the following:

  • Networking equipment and cables
  • Computer hardware, software, and accessories
  • Furniture
  • Camera/video equipment/accessories
  • Portable ring lights/lamps
  • Sound baffles
  • Teleconferencing kiosk(s)
  • Mobile devices and related apps
  • Printers/scanners
  • IT support (computer/web)
  • Staff training
  • Medical supplies
  • Sanitation/infection prevention
  • Marketing and promotion

The maximum grant award will be $25,000 for a single library location and $50,000 for a multi-branch library. After notice of success, TSLAC will provide training to successful applicants to help finalize their grant budgets.

The deadline to submit applications is this Friday October 1, so APPLY NOW!

Check out these excellent resources to inform your applications:

Front cover of the SaferCareTX Pottsboro Playbook
Cover of Craig Settles' Library Telehealth Guide
First slide from "Establishing aTelehealth Center in Your Library" presentation

Second Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) Window, Plus: Share Your ECF Thoughts With ALA

The second Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) Program Application Filing Window opens on September 28, 2021, and will close on October 13, 2021. This federal funding is for accredited public libraries to receive hotspots, lendable laptops, or Internet equipment and services for patron use outside of the library building.

Is ECF right for your library?

ECF does have requirements to be aware of:

  1. You must have an active FCC Registration Number, SAM.gov registration, and login to the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) to participate.
  2. To receive ECF funds on internet access, you must comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) which, among other things, requires filtering on all of the library-owned computers.
  3. If you want to avoid having to filter, however, libraries do not have to be CIPA-compliant to get ECF funding for hotspot hardware and computers as long as they aren’t receiving ECF for internet access. You would NOT be able to use ECF for hotspot service (cellular data plan), however, without filtering. Note: Patron-owned computers never have to be filtered.
  4. Patrons receiving a circulated hotspot/connected device purchased with ECF will need to receive an eligible use policy from you and must sign and return a statement that says they lack the connectivity support at home.
  5. You need to maintain inventories of devices and services purchased with ECF support. Examples of what the inventories must include are: (a) device type, and; (b) name of the person the device was loaned to and the dates the device was loaned and returned.
  6. You must also maintain a record of the services purchased including: (a) type of service (e.g.,cable, fiber, wireless), (b) upload and download speeds; and (c) name of the person who received the service.
  7. You must retain records for at least 10 years from the last date of service or delivery of equipment funded by the ECF. This appears to mean that the information collected in the above Certification of need (# 2 above) and Inventories sections must be retained for 10 years.
  8. You are prohibited from selling or transferring equipment for three years after its purchase. After this, equipment may be sold, transferred, disposed of, donated, or traded.

If you have additional questions or need assistance, please reach out to TSLAC’s library technology consultant Henry Stokes (hstokes@tsl.texas.gov).


What is your library’s experience with ECF so far?

The American Library Association is seeking information about the library experience with the FCC’s Emergency Connectivity Fund program. If your library applied for ECF funding, strongly considered applying but did not apply, or is considering applying in the second application window (September 28- October 13) please fill out this short survey. Responses are anonymous and it should take less than 10 minutes to fill it out. ALA will use the aggregated data in their advocacy efforts with the FCC to seek improvements to the ECF program.

Please take a few minutes and fill out the survey. Deadline for responding is Wednesday, October 6.

Take ALA’s ECF Survey

Apply Now for Federal ECF Funding for Hotspots and Devices

As previously announced in June, the window is now open for the next 44 days (June 29 to August 13)  for accredited public libraries to apply for the federal Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) in order to purchase hotspots, lendable laptops, or Internet equipment and services for patron use outside of the library building.

There is now an ECF official website that has training and a place to enter your email address to receive official announcements, including upcoming training opportunities.

Is ECF right for your library?

ECF does have requirements to be aware of:

  1. You must have an active FCC Registration Number, SAM.gov registration, and login to the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) to participate.
  2. To receive ECF funds on internet access, you must comply with the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) which, among other things, requires filtering on all of the library-owned computers.
  3. If you want to avoid having to filter, however, libraries do not have to be CIPA-compliant to get ECF funding for hotspot hardware and computers as long as they aren’t receiving ECF for internet access. You would NOT be able to use ECF for hotspot service (cellular data plan), however, without filtering.  Note: Patron-owned computers never have to be filtered.
  4. Patrons receiving a circulated hotspot/connected device purchased with ECF will need to receive an eligible use policy from you and must sign and return a statement that says they lack the connectivity support at home.
  5. You need to maintain inventories of devices and services purchased with ECF support. Examples of what the inventories must include are: (a) device type, and; (b) name of the person the device was loaned to and the dates the device was loaned and returned.
  6. You must also maintain a record of the services purchased including: (a) type of service (e.g.,cable, fiber, wireless), (b) upload and download speeds; and (c) name of the person who received the service.
  7. You must retain records for at least 10 years from the last date of service or delivery of equipment funded by the ECF. This appears to mean that the information collected in the above Certification of need (# 2 above) and Inventories sections must be retained for 10 years.
  8. You are prohibited from selling or transferring equipment for three years after its purchase. After this, equipment may be sold, transferred, disposed of, donated, or traded.

If you have additional questions or need assistance, please reach out to TSLAC’s library technology consultant Henry Stokes (hstokes@tsl.texas.gov) who has begun an email list for any Texas libraries interested in ECF or future funding opportunities for hotspot/connected device lending (and there are more coming!). Let him know you’d like to be added so you can stay up to date with news and resources.

Give TSLAC Feedback About Two New Tech Funding Opportunities

TSLAC is planning to launch two upcoming Texas library technology grant programs—telehealth and digital navigators—both made possible by emergency pandemic funding. If you are from a Texas library, we’d love to get your input!

Opportunity 1: Telehealth

TSLAC is planning to provide a grant opportunity that would provide awarded libraries the equipment and resources needed to implement a telehealth program at their library facilities. Telehealth at the library is when Internet networks and computers are used to help facilitate visits between health care providers and library patrons.

Opportunity 2: Digital Navigators

TSLAC is planning to provide training, funding, and resources to awarded libraries to implement a Digital Navigators program for their community. Digital Navigators are individuals who address the whole digital inclusion process—home connectivity, devices, and digital skills—with community members through repeated interactions. A trained Digital Navigator will be able to assess a community member’s need, and competently guide them towards resources that are suitable both for their skill level and lifestyle.


You can now watch a recording of TSLAC’s webinar last week describing the two programs in development. In addition to an overview provided by staff from TSLAC’s Continuing Education and Consulting Department, you’ll hear from two pioneers in these areas: Dianne Connery of Pottsboro Library (TX) discussing her telehealth pilot, and Shauna Edson and Justin Strange of Salt Lake City Public Library (UT) discussing their Digital Navigators project. Please note: Although you can watch the recording as a guest without logging in to our online course page, you’ll want to be sure to log in and enroll in the course if you’d like to receive 1 hour of Continuing Education (CE) credit.

Are you interested in one or both of these opportunities? Do you foresee any obstacles to taking advantage of them? Are there reasons why they wouldn’t be a good fit for your library right now? Please let us know your thoughts by taking the following survey (less than 10 minutes) by Tuesday, July 6.

Survey link: http://s.alchemer.com/s3/Funding-for-Telehealth-and-Digital-Navigators

Thank you! We look forward to getting your input to ensure these programs best meet your library’s needs.

For questions about the telehealth program, please contact Henry Stokes at hstokes@tsl.texas.gov. For questions about Digital Navigators, please contact Cindy Fisher at cfisher@tsl.texas.gov.

Upcoming Webinar: Tech Care of Your Community with Two TSLAC Tech Grant Programs!

Join TSLAC’s Digital Inclusion and Library Technology Consultants Cindy Fisher and Henry Stokes as they introduce two upcoming Texas library technology grant programs in development—telehealth and digital navigators—made possible by emergency pandemic funding.

Attendees will hear about a telehealth initiative from Dianne Connery of Pottsboro Library (TX) and a technology support and computer device access program called Digital Navigators from Shauna Edson and Justin Strange of Salt Lake City Public Library (UT). After learning about these programs, you’ll be invited to provide your interest and feedback on implementing these programs in your community.

Webinar Title: Funding for Telehealth and Digital Navigators, Two Programs In Development for Texas Libraries

When: Thursday, June 24, 11 am to 12 noon Central

CE Credit: 1 hour

Registration Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3978740470804071696

Prepare for Library Funding with the Digital Equity Webinar Series

This is an exciting moment for the library field! State and federal leaders are prioritizing access to high speed internet connection (broadband) for all citizens. 

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA) will provide $200 million dollars to the Institute of Museum of Library Services, of which $8.3 million will go to Texas. ARPA also allocated $7.172 billion (yes billion) as part of the Emergency Connectivity Fund to ensure that people across the United States can access the internet. Libraries are eligible to apply for this funding, but the rules to do so are still being determined. 

Libraries are about to see a massive influx of funding to assist with connectivity, so now is the perfect time to learn how libraries, nonprofits, policymakers, and government leaders are devising actionable, equitable plans to bridge the digital divide. A free weekly Wednesday webinar series from the National Digital Inclusion Alliance will provide just this context. The series began this past Wednesday, April 6 at 12:00 p.m. CT and will run until June 2. Register for one, some, or all at https://www.digitalinclusion.org/net-inclusion-2021-webinar-series/