The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) recently awarded funding to the Driscoll Public Library under the TSLAC CARES grant program. Driscoll Public Library was selected to receive an $18,161.70 grant to advance digital equity in Devine. Provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the funding will be used by the library to expand digital inclusion efforts and provide technical support, especially for workforce development and broadband availability. Thirty-seven other libraries across the state have also received grants through this program.
The grant was written and submitted by Head Librarian Debra DuBose, who was one of the top 10 highest scoring recipients in the second round of funding after missing out on the first.
“All community members have the right to digital resources like high speed broadband that are essential for learning, working, and daily life,” DuBose said. “Our library strives to provide barrier-free access to broadband, and this CARES Act grant will put us closer to that goal.”
Driscoll Public Library will use the grant for:
Purchase of a long range WiFi Access Point – this will extend the WiFi coverage further and also enhance the speed to the fastest in our area provided by commZoom.
Purchase of outdoor furnishings for the patio providing areas where patrons can sit comfortably and use their own devices for school work and job searches while connected to the library WiFi.
Making the patio both attractive and useful to patrons has long been a goal for DuBose, who has tried to secure funding for the “patio project” for a number of years.
“This does not complete the vision I have to beautify the front of the library and provide an inviting environment for the community, but it’s a good start,” DuBose said.
Purchase of a new curbside dropbox – this will ensure the security of items returned. All materials are currently returned to a curbside dropbox that has only one drop chute. This creates the opportunity for heavy books to be dropped on CDs and DVDs, risking damage. The new dropbox will have separate drop shoots for books and audio/visual materials.
Purchase of a UV handheld light, as recommended by the CDC and the State Library of Texas, to disinfect all materials returned to the library when they are brought out of quarantine.
Purchase of a software program specifically designed for library use that will make it possible for the librarians to help patrons with computer questions/problems from the circulation desk, creating a safe environment for both patron and staff. This program will also monitor all patron printing, eliminating the “oh I didn’t mean to print all 100 pages” problem. The computers will also now have a log on requirement which will have an automatic timer. The staff will no longer have to monitor the time each patron is on the computer, as it will be automated.
The grant funds will also be used to reimburse the city for the installation of the sneeze guard installed around the circulation desk for the safety of patrons and staff and for other expenditures in and for the library directly related to COVID-19.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission received the funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to support libraries in responding to coronavirus pandemic. In March, Congress provided the federal agency a total of $50 million in CARES Act to distribute to states and territories.
“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 the libraries across Texas as they support their communities in these challenging times.”
“As pillars of our communities, libraries and museums bring people together by providing important programs, services, and collections. These institutions are trusted spaces where people can learn, explore and grow,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kempler. “IMLS is proud to support their initiatives through our grants as they educate and enhance their communities.”