Roving Reporter | "Library Wins Texas Book Festival Grant" | Text and Photos by Jeanette Larson

Library Director Iris Sanchez with check
The Aransas County Public Library was one of 43 public libraries that received a grant from the Texas Book Festival, it was announced at the 2017 Texas Library Association Conference in San Antonio on April 20, 2017. The application for $2500 was written by Melodee Field, Assistant Librarian. Monies will be used to update the library's badly underfunded children's non-fiction collection. Titles to be purchased with the grant will focus on biographies, especially of computer scientists and pioneers like Ada Lovelace and Bill Gates, animals, including local favorites like the roseate spoonbill, jellyfish, and sea urchins, as well as titles that provide information on life in the military, such as My Mom is in the Navy.

Field noted in her application that as a designated Family Place Library, the library has seen an increase in families visiting the library. Family Place libraries work to build healthy, literate communities by working with families. Nationally, 400 libraries are designated as Family Place libraries. Most visitors, including homeschooling families, want current factual material for their young readers. The approximately 120 books to be purchased with the grant funds should be on the shelves in time for the library's summer reading program, which begins the second week in June.

The Texas Book Festival was started in 1995 by then-First Lady of Texas, Laura Bush. Held each Fall in Austin, with satellite events at other times around the state, the free festival brings authors and illustrators to meet readers at the State Capitol. Proceeds from the festivals have provided $3 million in awarded grants to more than 600 libraries. This year the festival was able to give $100,000. The funding, which comes largely from donations made by Festival supporters, enables public libraries to improve their collections. The 2017 Texas Book Festival will be held November 4-5 in Austin.

Jeanette Larson is a retired librarian and author. She and her husband, retired architect and artist Jim Larson, moved to Rockport several years ago for the birds, the beach, and the coastal community.

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