By Holly Wise
The Cove Herald
Three area libraries were awarded pieces of a federal grant pie that dished out $8 million to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission to provide increased computer access for Texans statewide.
Gatesville Public Library was awarded $8,773 from the grant. A $3,668 match will give the library $12,441 for the purchase of new technology.
"It means we're able to keep our technology a little bit more up to date," Gatesville Public Library Director Faye Nichols said.
Nichols said the grant money would be used to purchase a new server, internet switch, six desktop computers, five laptop computers and Microsoft Office.
According to a press release from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the Technology Expertise, Access and Learning for All Texans project will fund new or upgraded computer centers at 38 libraries plus community colleges, public schools, recreation centers and health facilities as well as three mobile learning labs to provide computer training wherever needed.
"Libraries are first-responders to the needs of the community," Texas State Library and Archives Commission Chairwoman Sandra Pickett said in a press release. "It's not just about computers and wiring; it's about helping people connect to ways to improve their lives."
Belton and Salado libraries also received a portion of the federal grant.
The Lena Armstrong Public Library in Belton was awarded $24,325 and will generate a $10,425 match for a total of $34,750.
"We'll be able to replace some of the older (computers) and update the internet connection," library director Kim Kroll said. The city of Belton will be responsible for the $10,425 match.
Marsha McGuire, director of the Salado Public Library District, will have to fit her match of $16,165 into her budget. The library district was awarded $64,559 from the grant. With the match amount, the library will have $80,724 at its disposal for the use of technology.
"We're really thrilled about it," McGuire said.
The district is going to purchase 12 new laptops; eight will be available for patrons to check out to pursue educational opportunities at home, McGuire said.
The district also plans on purchasing four databases to help consumers study for the General Educational Development and SAT exams and language learning.
The library district is not supported by the city and will have to come up with the match money in its own budget, McGuire said.
The Houston Public Library System, which serves more than 2 million people at 43 library locations, was awarded $3.8 million with a $2.2 million match, the largest amount given to one library system.
"It's a commitment to education, gainful employment and successful lives for people all across the state," said Texas State Library and Archives Commission Director and Librarian Peggy Rudd. "Lack of opportunity shouldn't be a deterrent to success. This project will give people the means to reach their potential as productive citizens and boost Texas' economy as well."
Contact Holly Wise at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7474. Follow her on Twitter at KDHcoveeditor.