Austin, TX – The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is awarding 38 grants to libraries throughout the state to support local efforts to respond to COVID-19 and increase digital inclusion throughout communities. This first cycle of the TSLAC CARES Grant Program provides emergency funding totaling $1,063,469 and comes from the federal appropriation made to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The full list of grant recipients can be found at https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ldn/cares/recipients.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the many ways libraries are more essential than ever in meeting local needs to stay connected and informed,” said Mark Smith, TSLAC Director and State Librarian. “We are grateful to the IMLS and the federal government for providing this assistance to libraries across Texas as they support their communities in these challenging times.”
TSLAC CARES grants will fund community needs identified by Texas libraries for the programs, training, and tools necessary to increase community access to vital digital technologies and services. Additionally, funds may be utilized for library initiatives that support prevention, preparation, and response to the COVID-19 emergency. This reimbursement grant program will fund operating expenditures such as library supplies and materials, technology, furniture, and contractual services. Texas libraries received funding to extend services, including:
- WiFi hotspots (devices, service contracts, transmitters, antennae, and accessories).
- Electronic devices and equipment (desktop and laptop computers, tablets, headphones, webcams).
- E-resources such as e-books, databases, and subscription-based services.
- Equipment, supplies, and training needed to offer online programming for patrons.
- Supplies, materials, and equipment supporting curbside services.
- Sanitation and personal protective equipment (PPE) to provide a safer library space for patrons and staff.
- Contactless or automated services (self-checkout kiosks, teleconferencing services, book bins, lockers).
- Furniture such as study carrels, tables with built-in power, and addition indoor or outdoor seating to enable social distancing.
This initial grant program represents the first $30 million of $50 million appropriated nationally in the CARES Act in March, of which Texas received $2.6 million.
IMLS Director Crosby Kemper III said, “COVID-19 has not only created a public health emergency, but it has also created a deep need for trusted community information, education, and connection that our libraries and museums are designed to provide. Access to and use of all kinds of health, job, government, educational, and community resources are necessary to weathering the current situation, beginning efforts to reopen, and sustaining our institutions.”
Libraries across the state can continue to access regular TSLAC training materials and courses online, and TSLAC continues to develop and make available training to help libraries address issues arising from the coronavirus. TSLAC is delivering critical digital resources to Texans through its partnership with Texas libraries. Its TexShare and TexQuest online databases provide access to e-books, journals, educational and business content, and resources for workforce development. The State Library is also providing library professionals statewide with information on supporting communities to ensure that remote education, research, telework, telemedicine, and all aspects of learning and commerce are as robust as possible during this time.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides Texans access to the information they need to be informed, productive citizens by preserving the archival record of Texas; enhancing the service capacity of public, academic and school libraries; assisting public agencies in the maintenance of their records; and meeting the reading needs of Texans with disabilities. For more information, visit www.tsl.texas.gov.