Texas Book Festival 2005
Founding: In late 1995, under the guidance of then-Texas First Lady Laura Bush, a former librarian and an ardent advocate of literacy, a task force convened to plan a book festival to honor the state’s long-standing literary tradition. In addition to celebrating books and Texas authors, the Texas Book Festival would promote the joys of reading and serve to benefit the state’s public libraries . The first Festival took place at the Capitol in November 1996; the event has quickly evolved into one of the premier literary events in the Southwest. Almost half a million people have attended the Book Festival over the past eight years.
Grants to Libraries: The Festival has contributed $1.65 million to public libraries throughout the state, enabling them to expand their book collections and reading programs. 550 of the state’s 561 libraries have received grants from the Festival. A $2,500 TBF grant typically doubles the annual materials budget of a public library.
In 2004, the Book Festival partnered with the Texas Library Association to expand the grants criteria for funding to libraries. The new criteria includes a specific literacy component to encourage libraries to develop benchmark programs that might be replicated in other Texas communities and a technology component to wire public libraries for the 21st century.
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