What’s a book sanctuary?

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Book sanctuaries are institutions committed to upholding the First Amendment Rights of all citizens, wherein book bans and challenges must follow through a specific procedure to be considered. They are places where books and the right to read them remains at the forefront of what an institution does. Chicago Public Libraries (CPL) declared themselves book sanctuaries in late September. Along …

Banned Books Week – the perfect time to launch video on The Whole Community Library.

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In a time of intense political polarization, library staff in every state are facing an unprecedented number of attempts to ban books. Many great resources exist to help library staff including the Unite Against Book Bans toolkit. The Tocker Foundation is pleased to offer one more with this video presentation from the authoritative voice of Mark Smith, retired director of …

Public libraries in rural Texas invited to join Neil Gaiman Watch Party.

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Through a collaboration with the Westport (CT) Library and Tocker Foundation, rural libraries can join a thrilling, nationwide event to celebrate the visionary works of acclaimed author, Neil Gaiman. Stream a captivating live presentation featuring exclusive insights and in-depth discussions about his mesmerizing tales. From the haunting realms of “American Gods” to the whimsical adventures of “Coraline,” this watch party …

TSLAC Offers Free Help for Public Libraries to File for 2024 Federal E-Rate Funding

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Texas State Library has contracted with E-Rate Central to provide E-Rate consulting services to eligible libraries in the state of Texas at no cost to the libraries! Unlike years past, E-Rate Central will now be providing E-Rate support and forms preparation for both categories one and two. To meet the team, learn more about the program and understand the NEW …

Marathon Public Library gets honorable mention as best small library in U.S. by Library Journal

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Library Journal’s annual award showcases the exemplary work of libraries serving populations under 25,000. This year’s prize went to Page (AZ) Public Library, an outstanding example of an exemplary library. One of two honorable mentions went to Texas’ smallest accredited library in Marathon. Kudos to the hard-working folks who make the Marathon Public Library a community anchor. Stay tuned for …

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The Freedom to Read Foundation and the American Association of School Librarians have joined the Association of University Presses, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Freedom to Learn Advocates in filing an amicus curiae brief that supports the request by the American Booksellers Association, the Association of American Publishers, the Authors Guild, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and two Texas …

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ALA Fund helps librarians facing threats, challenges and wrongful termination.

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Deborah Caldwell-Stone, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom’s Director says “We’re seeing an unprecedented volume of challenges . . . In my twenty years with ALA, I can’t recall a time when we had multiple challenges coming in on a daily basis.” For those librarians across the country who are faced with these challenges and threats, financial support can be found …

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Libraries cannot remain neutral about hate, oppression, censorship.

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In the current climate of well-funded campaigns to control what children read, Melanie Huggins, president of the Public Library Association (a division of the American Library Association), is speaking out in Public Libraries Journal Jan/Feb 2022. She shares that in the past, the diversity of a collection served as a library’s primary (and mostly quiet) act of resistance against hate, …

Rural should not mean ‘out of reach’. Speak up for better broadband across Texas.

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Texas’ new office of broadband development is tasked with ensuring that all Texans have access to reliable, high-quality broadband. To allow all corners of the state to be heard, they are inviting Texans to offer their thoughts by completing an online survey. Share it with friends, neighbors, family and colleagues. Survey is open until May 5, 2022.

State Broadband Development Office holds listening tour across state.

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To guide the strategic vision of Texas’ new Broadband Development Office, Comptroller Glenn Hegar is touring 12 communities to get Texans’ insights about internet access and collect input to develop the state’s first broadband plan. These events are free, and Texans are encouraged to attend and share their thoughts about broadband services in their communities. This is a great opportunity …

Freedom to read is a right.

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The Austin Public Library stands with the entire library community in defense of the freedom to speak and the freedom to read, and opposed to censorship of any library materials. “Freedom to read is a right that must be protected in our schools and public libraries, and we must not give in to the vocal few that want to speak …

American Library Association

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Rural libraries get help to rebuild from the pandemic with American Rescue Plan: Humanities grants.

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American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries is a $2 million grant program to anchor libraries as strong humanities institutions as they rebuild from the pandemic and restore activities. American Library Association (ALA) will award up to 200 ARP grants of $10,000 each to libraries with an emphasis on reaching historically under-served and/or rural communities. ALA provides all you need …

American Rescue Plan Act money makes its way to Texas libraries.

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Wednesday, September 1st at 2 pm, join TSLAC staff for a live webinar discussing the details of three new competitive grant opportunities for libraries made possible by emergency pandemic funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The three grant focus areas are support for libraries related to the pandemic, digital navigators, and telehealth. What will you do with the …

Public libraries are eligible for Emergency Connectivity Fund. Apply now.

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The Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) is a one-time, $7.17 billion funding program authorized by the American Rescue Act Plan (ARPA) and directed at remote learning through libraries and K-12 schools. Application period ends on August 13, 2021. Fund period runs July 1, 2021-June 30, 2022. Visit the ECF or the American Library Association’s dedicated page to get up to speed …

Writers’ League of Texas ready to take their Texas Writes program back on the road.

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Is your library ready to host in-person programming again? The Writers’ League of Texas is seeking rural libraries interested in hosting their free, 3 hour writing workshop, Texas Writes. Each workshop includes two presentations on the craft of writing by published authors, plus a moderated conversation and Q&A. Workshops are free and open to all. Twelve to fifteen rural libraries …

Jeff Davis County Library, Friends Group and Food Pantry join forces to deliver mobile services.

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In far West Texas, good things are happening for residents in Jeff Davis County. Local leaders of the Jeff Davis County Library, the Friends of the Library and the local food pantry have formed a unique partnership to serve their community by meeting them where they are with a mobile unit dubbed Mobile Comunidad. The new van will deliver food, …

Books Matter, a curated list of titles where kids can see themselves reflected in the story.

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Children of color make up about 40% of the population, yet recent statistics show that the number of children’s books featuring people of color has hovered around 10% for the past several years. Other types of diversity—including ability, socioeconomic status and LGBT people and families—are also sorely lacking. Children should be able to see themselves reflected in the world around …

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Meridian Public Library gets a big thumbs-up for their new book drop

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A Tocker Foundation grant in 2020 provided new books, a security system and a new outdoor drop box for book returns. Library staff members were thrilled by patron response to all three, but they were unprepared for the excitement generated by this upgraded book drop. Nearly 1,000 people checked it out on their Facebook page. If you ‘judge a book …

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TSLAC helps small libraries provide E-books to patrons.

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Small, public libraries* with little or no e-book content recently got a boost when TSLAC began purchasing digital books for libraries to lend through SimplyE, an e-book app. Over 6,000 titles and growing in this collection that includes popular adult fiction and non-fiction, selections from various university presses and TIME for Kids. A focus on ease of use means readers …

Let’s talk about your next grant application.

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We all know 2020 has been a year like no other. In fact, the Tocker Foundation had a record low number of grant requests in June. Shocking? Not really. The likely reason is that librarians were scrambling to adapt to the requirements of living in a pandemic and still provide needed services to their communities. They are thoughtful, civic leaders …

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TSLAC creates map to help Texans locate free Wi-Fi

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Texas State Library and Archives Commission takes the lead on helping Texans find free Wi-Fi. At the urging of Texas Legal Services Center/TexasLawHelp.com, and Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid, TSLAC has launched a map of public Wi-Fi spots across the state. But the job is not yet complete. They need your help by adding more locations not currently included. If …

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FaceTime helps Dublin Public Library keep distance and keep serving their community.

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Resourceful librarians have adapted quickly to continue offering services to their communities during the pandemic. This important skill really kicked in for Adina Dunn of the Dublin Public Library. Even before forced closures, the library started offering curbside services in early March. To follow recommended guidelines, they first installed a Ring® doorbell to notify staff of a patron’s arrival, however …

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Keach Family Library keeps patrons busy with 30 virtual services and programs.

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The buildings may be closed to visitors but library staff all over the state are working hard to serve their patrons even in the most difficult of times. Keach Family Library in Robstown, part of Nueces County, amassed a list of 30 services and activities for patrons of all ages available during the pandemic . Here are the top ten: …

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Jasper’s Storytime in the Park during COVID

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Libraries have been forced to get creative in responding to the challenges of the pandemic. Jasper Public Library found a way to maintain a beloved program – Storytime – and simultaneously support their community’s health. Staff enlarged the pages of a colorful children’s book and attached them to yard signs similar in size to real estate signs. Staked in the …