Johnson City Library News

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) recently awarded funding to Johnson City Library under the TSLAC CARES Grant program. The library was selected to receive a grant of $19,200 to advance digital equity in Johnson City and Blanco County. Provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the funding will be used by the library to expand digital inclusion efforts and provide technical support, which has become so important because of COVID-19. Thirty‐seven other libraries across the state have also received grants through this program.   

“All community members have the right to digital resources like high-speed broadband that are essential for learning, working, and daily life.”  Our library strives to provide barrier‐free access to broadband, and this CARES Act grant will put us closer to that goal. The communities we serve will benefit tremendously from this funding, and we look forward to implementing new programs and expanding our existing resources to support digital equity for all our patrons,” said Library Director Maggie Goodman.  

Different segments of the community were taken into consideration with grant expenditures: younger children and families, school-age children and families, and seniors. The grant will be used to offer hotspots, iPads and Kindle Fires for check out with a library card for students doing distance learning. We are creating an outdoor space for all kinds of programs that will be safer and allow social distancing as a response to COVID-19.  The space includes a 65” TV with sound system so people can sit in their cars or on the porch for the programs.  Another outdoor venue in the planning is a walking path around the library.  The path will have interactive/educational signage on many topics including stories.  Other programs offered are craft classes at the JC Housing Authority, and home book delivery and computer literacy training.  In conjunction with the Science Mill, several short films will be made that highlight science and the Texas Hill Country.  These will be available for free, so you can get out and enjoy our beautiful countryside without leaving home. 

The library is honored to have been awarded this grant that is funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services through a grant to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (Grant #LS-246561-OLS-20).* (2021). As your community library, we try hard to provide new and better ways to serve especially now.  Please call the library at 830-868-4469 to find out more about this grant and all other services the library provides.   

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The library recently installed a rainwater catchment system to help irrigate our pollinator gardens.  We had the tank installed just in time for rain to fill it up over the weekend!  This is part of our ongoing commitment to sustainability and outdoor education.

For our next project, we are hoping to create a walking path around the library with educational displays.  We plan to rotate between story walks, local artists, and educational material on various topics.  Not only would this give the community a great space to get fresh air but it would offer a safe self-paced, educational opportunity which is imperative during this time.

We are one of three finalists for the Giving Goddess Grant which would help fund this next project.  100 ladies will give $100 each and vote for the local non-profit of their choice to receive a total of $10,000. The final voting and awarding of the grant will take place in early September.  For more information on this project, or to learn how to become a giving goddess please visit our Giving Goddess Grant page.   

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A year ago in April, the Tocker Foundation awarded the Johnson City Library a $50,000 grant for new furnishings.  A little over a year later everything is complete and the library has had a total facelift.  In order to be eligible, the whole library needed to be remodeled at the same time.  We had just completed the Hancher grant that upgraded the adult computer area and created the new Community Education Room and upgraded to LED lighting with funding from the Johnson City Woman’s Civic Club. The Tocker grant revitalized several areas.  In the youth area, there are new computer tables and chairs, a soundproofing wall that is amazing, a new rug, a curved bookcase, and furnishings.  A teen area was created with a colorful booth with a charging station.  There are now two seating areas for adults and new bookcases.  The results are that the library is more functional and accessible.  The lighter colors brighten the room and make it feel more spacious.  The bookcases all match and are easier to access,   In short, we have a library that is a source of pride for our community.  The library acknowledges and thanks the Tocker Foundation for making this possible, and for putting their trust in us this time and the many other grants in the past.
In normal times, we would have had an opening reception for the Blanco community.  We’ll have to put that on hold, but please come by.  Sit on the furniture, use our services (free Wi-Fi, 24-7, computers, printing, hotspots).  It is our honor to always strive for better ways to serve the community especially now, so let us know how we’re doing.  Have a look, check out a book!

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Pollinator Gardens


This week the First United Methodist Church Youth volunteered at the library to revitalize our pollinator gardens.  During three days of hard work, they weeded, dispersed mulch, and planted several pollinator-friendly plants in two gardens.  Just hours after they put in the new plants we had hummingbirds and butterflies fluttering around the flowers. 

Many thanks to the youth who put in the hard work to get our gardens in good shape.  Our thanks also to Robbin Voight, who selected and donated all the beautiful plants. 

We are planning multiple outdoor projects around the library to create an outdoor learning hub. The next project in the works is a rainwater catchment and irrigation system to keep our gardens happy and hydrated.  Watch for updates soon!

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On June 20, 2020, the library led a small car parade through local neighborhoods to kick off our Summer Reading program.  The parade was delayed due to rain, but after forty minutes the rain lightened to a soft sprinkle and we were off!  Despite the literal raining on the parade, it was still a blast.  We handed out many goodie bags to everyone who came out to see us.
This was the first of several summer reading activities.  We have had to think outside the box for programs that can be safe during COVID-19.  For the next six weeks we have planned programs that can be done from home- see our YouTube for virtual story time, small family programs such as our escape room and scavenger hunts, and limited seating classes that allow for social distancing.  
Even during unusual times, the library is committed to providing the community with fun, educational activities, and resources.

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