VA library wins grant to benefit local youth

By Joshua Baethge
For the Van Alstyne Leader
A recently awarded grant will help the Van Alstyne Public Library upgrade its juvenile non-fiction book collection.

The Van Alstyne Public Library has been awarded a $2,500 collection enhancement grant by the Texas Book Festival and Texas Library Association.  But while the library is the official recipient, local kids will likely be the real winners. 

“The Texas Book Festival grant will allow us to upgrade our juvenile non-fiction book collection so that we may better serve the growing demand placed by our rapidly growing population and existing patrons,” Library Director Judy Kimzey says. “An updated and expanded collection will provide to our rapidly growing juvenile patronage with fresh and exciting information to keep young minds eager for more.” 

According to Kimzey, the library now has 1,604 registered juvenile patrons to serve in addition to the demand created by a partnership with the local elementary schools, as well as an active and growing homeschool group. This coupled with the city’s anticipated population boom, made the need for the library to enlarge its collection much more urgent. 

A recently awarded grant will help the Van Alstyne Public Library upgrade its juvenile non-fiction book collection.

The Texas Book Festival has been funding collection enhancement grants since its founding in 1995. Its mission is to promote literacy and support Texas libraries. Funds that are awarded to each library are generated by the three-day Texas Book Festival hosted in October every year in Austin as well as other generous donors. Since 1996, the organization has funded 1,305 grants totaling over $3 million to more than 600 libraries across Texas. 

Van Alstyne Library assistant director Ashley Ramon and youth technical services librarian Ben George spearheaded efforts to secure the grant. They initially presented the idea to Kimzey.  Together, the three discussed needs and deadlines, and agreed to move forward with the application. Ramon and George then worked together to outline a purchase plan, describing the library’s needs. They established a timeline for everything from purchasing and advertising to getting the books in the library. Kimzey then assisted with some final edits to help tie everything together for a winning grant.  

“With input from the local homeschool group and both elementary schools, we have created a responsive purchase list that will not only keep young readers engaged and learning but enable them to complete assignments as required,” she says. 

A recently awarded grant will help the Van Alstyne Public Library upgrade its juvenile non-fiction book collection.

Plans call for the addition of 253 volumes to the library's outdated collection. The new volumes will be used in lesson plans for teachers and integrated into homeschool families’ curriculum. Those new books are slated to hit the shelves by early October.