Loan Star Libraries 2002:
A legendary first year
Loan Star Libraries is a new non-competitive grant program that benefits nearly every public library in Texas. The program began in 2002 when 517 libraries received a cumulative $2.9 million. Prior to this, Texas state government had no program that provided this kind of direct monetary aid to local libraries.In fact, Texas was one of only six states that did not provide this type of assistance to public libraries.
The grant funds are distributed based on a formula that benefits those libraries that open their collections to all Texans without a fee. Every eligible library receives a base grant, and then an additional match on local operating expenditures. Learn more about the formula.
The Texas library community worked very hard to push the program idea through the 77th Texas Legislature, and the state legislature agreed that libraries in Texas needed more funds, and further, that the state should make a stronger commitment to its libraries.
Texas libraries accomplished some exciting things with their Loan Star Libraries grants in 2002. Eighty percent of the libraries received a grant award between $1,000 and $4,999. Even with just a $1,000 grant, Texas librarians were able to make a difference within their communities. According to state librarian Peggy D. Rudd, "What makes this program so beneficial for local communities is that they have wide latitude in deciding how to spend the funds. Who knows better the local community needs than the local community?"
Some of the exciting things that were accomplished in 2002:
- Alpine Public Library began a GED and ESL program for the community; the community had no such program before, and when word spread about the program's availability, the library received such an overwhelming response, staff had to create a waiting list.
- Corpus Christi Public Library began preservation of a rare collection of 19th century historical documents that portray the history of Corpus Christi. They plan to use their 2003 Loan Star Libraries grant to present the collection online for all to enjoy.
- Kinney County Public Library used a $1,982 grant to stay open later in the summer, when they provide a series of computer classes. They hired personnel to teach the classes in the evenings, when more working parents and students could attend.
- Bullard Community Library implemented a Summer Science Club for students using a Loan Star Libraries grant. In addition, library staff created a Spanish story hour to meet the needs of their diverse community.
- Laredo Public Library purchased ten new computer workstations and marketing materials for their popular series of basic computer classes.
The State Library worked with communities throughout the state to draw attention to the services of local libraries and the benefits of the new grant program. Seven public check presentations were held that included state legislators, city councils and mayors, the Texas Library Association, Texas Regional Library System personnel and local Friends groups, among many others.
Visit our photo gallery of these events.
How to plan a check presentation in your community.
Looking forward to 2003
The State Library is now distributing grant funds in the second year of the program.
Find out how much your community will receive.
Find out more about the Loan Star Libraries program.