Press Release
From the Office of Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2002
CONTACT: Doris Sanchez
Phone: 512-463-0127

A total of $205,000 in Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund grants awarded to area libraries

AUSTIN, TX--State Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, announced today that the Brownsville Public Library representing Cameron Videoconferencing Network (CVN) received $175,000 and the Idea Academy in Donna received $30,000 in grant funds from the Texas Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund (TIF) Board in August. These grantees showed promise of advancing learning, improving public access, and building partnerships in the state through collaboration.

"These series of grants to our schools and libraries in South Texas stand to raise the level of educational opportunities, so that our students of today will be marketable and competitive employees of tomorrow," said Sen. Lucio. "I commend the TIF board and the libraries for their efforts to bring higher technology to our residents."

These libraries will be using the funding to expand their current library resources by providing infrastructure, informational databases, and modern equipment and software for resource sharing. The Idea Academy, a small charter school, received the TIF funding to get their library connected to a resource of databases. This grant removes the barriers for small schools to become members of the Texas Library Connection (TLC), an online resource that promotes the sharing of current, relevant information through databases. Approximately 40 public school libraries will receive up to $30,000 each in order to increase the technology infrastructure to support the Texas Library Connection (TLC). The funds will allow these small school districts to provide a year's worth of training to support the TLC requirement of having a certified librarian to supervise the library.

The Brownsville Library was part of seven library collaboratives that received a total of $1.2 million in TIF grants. Each proposal focused on different goals. One grantee is focusing on videoconferencing capabilities and training. A few grantees are initiating transforming their websites into English and Spanish, providing bilingual classes and tutoring centers for the Spanish-speaking residents in the area. Another grantee is focusing on providing wireless access so that training classes can be taught to students and parents, and laptops can be checked out to be used in the vicinity. Yet another grantee will be using funds to make sure technology is accessible for their special needs population.

"This state funding source was created in 1995 to allow all Texans access to modern technology and Internet resources. People are able to gain the expertise and skills they need to succeed in this technological age by using the resources of libraries nearby," said Sen. Lucio. "This funding that will be used in the area libraries continues the evolution of these resource centers toward information technology centers for the community."

Since its creation by the 74th Legislature, TIF has awarded more than $1.8 billion in grants to its four constituent groups -- public schools, libraries, institutions of higher education, and public, not-for-profit healthcare facilities. TIF is set to expire in 2005.

For more information, contact TIF at (512) 344-4300 or 888-533-(TIFB) 8432. Additional information, including lists of all grantees and future grant opportunities, is available at http://www.tifb.state.tx.us.

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