How to Improve Your Proposal

All applicants are encouraged to contact our office at the beginning of their grant project plans.
Our Associate Director, Karin Gerstenhaber, is available to answer any questions and assist you through the grant process. These conversations often result in stronger requests and therefore, greater impact in the library. They also serve as a preliminary review prior to submission.
Real County Public Library | Leakey, TX

Application Recommendations

Tell us your story

While the staff and board members would like to see every library in order to gain greater insight, it’s just not possible but the more you share in your narrative the better we can understand your vision. Tell us what makes your community unique. How has customer usage changed in the last 5 years? In the last 10 years? And how have those changes influenced your plans for the future of the library?

The narrative portion of the grant application is place where you paint that picture and then explain how you are going to accomplish it. Take us through each step and remember that we are not nearly as familiar with your library as you are. It is always a good idea to have more than one person read the application prior to submission to assure clarity of purpose and present a well-written application.

Take advantage of your resources

The Texas State Library has books available for borrowing in the areas of Marketing, Technology, Grant-seeking and Leadership/Management. Visit their website or email them at

Driscoll Public Library | Devine, TX
If the furniture/shelving project will include other changes, such as painting, flooring, or some electrical work, ask a Library Lover who has gone through something similar to create a proposed remodel schedule to minimize closure time.
Betty Roether
Pottsboro Area Public Library | Pottsboro, TX

Project-Specific Recommendations

Tell us about your collection
Plan for one year
Use the narrative portion of your application to demonstrate that you have recently assessed your collection and identified the areas of greatest need. Fiction, non-fiction, reference, large print, non-English, audio books, DVD's, adult, young adult, children’s music, etc.

Requests should not exceed the amount of materials that can be purchased and processed within one year. As a general rule, applications for materials will be considered within the context of the number of staff available to select, acquire, and process materials.

NEW: All applicants requesting funds for collection development are required to attach copies of the library's collection development policies covering acquisition, selection, weeding and reconsideration.

Take advantage of discounts

Take advantage of state-negotiated prices through various book vendors. View the Texas State Library’s contracts page and visit Print Materials and Multimedia

Additional recommendations
  • It is not necessary to list each title on the application form.
  • Collection requests are available from $5,000 to $10,000.
  • Select quality, shelf-ready materials from a reputable, library vendor instead of Barnes & Noble or Amazon.
Chico Public Library | Chico, TX
Pottsboro Area Public Library | Pottsboro, TX
Plan for three to five years

Applicants are encouraged to take advantage of state-negotiated contract prices and a mandated three year warranty. Check with your vendor to insure you are getting the appropriate discount. Visit the Texas State Library’s website for more information.

Be specific
Vendor quotes should include specifications for the computer such as type of computer, speed, RAM, hard disk drive.
Know your limit
Because libraries have found that different devices are used for different purposes, the foundation funds in three categories: desktops, laptops and tablets. Grants are limited to a maximum of two devices per category per request.
Chico Public Library | Chico, TX

Updating the furniture and shelving in your library can make a big impact. Planning such a large project frequently involves a re-imagining of the entire library and an assessment of its adaptability to the changing needs of its patrons and the community at large. Many projects of this size generate so much excitement that they frequently attract other sources of support and expand the scope of the original plan.

After a year-long evaluation, we have an improved understanding of the dynamics involving large furniture-shelving grants and the many factors that make each one unique. As a result, we now review them on a case-by-case basis. Our goal is to include the Foundation's objectives and 21st Century best practices within the library's project and ultimately, expand the impact of the grant.

Once you and your library leadership have decided to pursue a grant to make improvements, your crucial first step is to speak with Associate Director, Karin Gerstenhaber to start the conversation.

Research and Planning

Plan for your present and future needs. See IMLS publication, Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills for an excellent source of information on the libraries of today.

Visit the exhibit hall during TLA’s annual conference to see the selections of different vendors and discuss your project with them.

Know your limit
Furniture and shelving requests are available up to $100,000.
Librarian Consultant
Burkburnett Public Library | Burkburnett, TX
Lake Whitney Public Library | Whitney, TX
Limited eligibility
Please call our office to discuss eligibility for an automation grant.
Vendor requests

Select an automation vendor and get a quote for software, equipment and supplies and a list of system requirements.

Automation Software should be Windows-based and web-based.
Stay up to date
The library must show that the shelf list is current and collection weeding is on-going.
Retrospective Conversion

In our experience retrospective conversion is best achieved by contracting with an appropriate vendor. In house retrospective conversion is difficult in that the task consumes valuable volunteer & staff time, does not provide a double check data base and does not provide warranties on the final project.