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.
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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 [email protected]

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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

Library Materials
Tell us about your collection
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, video/DVD, adult, young adult, children’s music, etc. Remember that we do not fund e-books or fees to join e-book platforms.
Plan for one year
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.
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 capped at $5,000.
  • Select quality, shelf-ready materials from a reputable, library vendor instead of Barnes & Noble or Amazon.
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Chico Public Library | Chico, TX
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Pottsboro Area Public Library | Pottsboro, TX
Computers
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
The foundation will fund a maximum of two computers per library per request. Tablets are eligible.
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Chico Public Library | Chico, TX
Furniture and Shelving
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.
Provide detailed documentation
Furniture and shelving requests must include a current floor plan, a revised floor plan and an itemized vendor quote. These documents are vital to the Foundation Board and the Grant Review Committee in their decision-making process.
Vendors and sources
Select quality, durable library furniture from a reputable, library vendor. Although custom made furniture can be beautiful, it is not the best choice for small public libraries.
Workstations
Select computer workstations that hide wiring, provide adjustable keyboard trays, and can accommodate wheelchairs. Select computer chairs that are easily adjusted and comfortable.
Shelving
Select standard metal library or wood shelving from a reputable vendor who will visit your library to help determine the amount of shelving needed and design the layout. Metal shelving is more flexible and less costly than the considerably more expensive wood shelving. Shelving maximum height is 72”.
Plan ahead

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.

Additional Expenses
Be sure to itemize shipping and installation costs in the total budget.
Know your limit
Furniture and shelving requests are capped at $50,000.
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Lake Whitney Public Library | Whitney, TX
Automation
Do your homework
Talk to libraries that are already automated. Visit the exhibit hall at TLA to meet vendors and get a good overview of the variety of automation products.
Vendor requests

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

Technology
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 to be completed.
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.

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