Troup library named a ‘Family Place Library’

Troup library director Melanie Brumit (right) and Jan Singletary are “super excited” that the library has been named as a “Family Place Library.”

TROUP – The future is looking bright for the Cameron-J. Jarvis Troup Municipal Library, which recently was named a Family Place Library, and is in the running for additional funds to renovate the facility.

“We’re super-excited about the Family Place Grant,” library director Melanie Brumit said of an email announcing the award in late February. “We want to look into how best reach out to our parents here.”

Troup Chamber of Commerce executive director Suzanne Loudamy noted that the grant will solidify the library’s role as a place of education.

“The use of this grant for a Family Place Library will give the community an opportunity to bring their young children and join in learning about and teaching early childhood education,” Loudamy said.

According to www.tsl.texas.gov, the Texas State Library & Archives Commission initiated the Family Place Libraries Project in 2015 to help public libraries address early learning with a goal of ensuring that all children enter school ready and able to learn.

According to the website, “This project is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.” 

Grant recipients attend a three-day program at the Family Place Libraries Training Institute at the Middle Country Public Library in Centereach, New York, where core elements of the Family Place model are explained, and where recipients receive assistance in developing the beginning stages of creating and maintaining a Family Place Library at their facility, the site states.

“Participating libraries can also expect three years of follow-up and support from the Middle Country Public Library following the training. Tuition for the Institute and follow-up support are provided through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services,” according to the website.

The Troup library, located at 102 S. Georgia St., recently became part of a network that includes more than 450 sites in 29 states; in Cherokee County, second Family Place Library is located in Rusk, which opened two years ago.

“The State Library sends out notifications of upcoming grants, and after reading about the grant, I thought it would be a great resource for us to offer to our community,” she said. “Our goal is to be able to reach out and bring local families together and help prepare children to start school with the skills they need.”

The $6,000 grant will pay for the training of her and library board member Jan Singletary during a May 4-7 conference in Centereach, New York.

“They’ve been very generous covering those expenses,” she said. “Usually, with larger libraries, they send for two paid staff members to attend, but (because Troup is a smaller rural library), we will be sending one staffer and one advocate for the library. It’s going to be a learning curve for us.”

As it will be for the Texas State Library officials involved, as Troup is among the first recipient from a smaller library.

“During the application process, smaller libraries were encouraged to apply and we are one of three smaller libraries that was awarded the grant. So the steps involved will be a learning process or not only the libraries, but also the state library officials who are involved,” she said. “The grant funds will be used to purchase various items needed based on the training we will be getting so we can meet the goals of the grant and help those in our community the best way possible.”

Travel funds are provided through the Tocker Foundation of Austin, from whom the library has applied for a $57,205 grant to furnish the library.

“It’s huge in comparison – this will pay for new furniture and total remodeling of the library. Hopefully, we’ll know by the end of the week,” she said, noting that the foundation “kind of changed the way they’re doing the library furnishing grant.”

In the past, someone with the foundation made a site visit, then suggest what could be used before ordering it for the library.

Now, Brumit said, there is a little more flexibility in cost and suggested available furniture.

“I sent in a video of the library, then Tocker brought a representative to look our site, at our statistics, then she suggested furniture – she literally brought samples of materials, color palettes … it was literally a four-hour meeting to pick what we wanted. She even had a layout, suggesting if we didn’t like it we could start from scratch,” Brumit recalled. “But we combined the two (schematics) and Tocker was amazing throughout the adventure.”

If awarded, the grant would allow the library to remodel the new annex area to create “more of the focal point for Family Place,” she said. “It allows a place for families and caregivers to spend time with their child, interacting with them.

“The two grants combined is like the perfect storm,” she said.

Having additional Family Place Libraries within in close distance also is a bonus.

“It’s a blessing for me – we have libraries in Tyler and Henderson,” which she can contact for guidance, Brumit said. “If both libraries already have resources, they can easily come to Troup and provide accessibility.”

The Cameron-J. Jarvis Troup Municipal Library serves a population of 1,902 residents.

In June 1989, the local city council outlined the creation of a public library, appointing a committee to look into state requirements for the facility. By the end of the year, a former Piggly Wiggly store building was purchased and, following renovations, the library opened in June 1992.

The facility is named for Eleanor Cameron and Julieta Jarvis, who played in instrumental role in establishing the library.

To learn more about the library, contact Brumit at tlibrary@trouptx.com. or call 903-842-3101 or visit the Facebook page, “Cameron-J. Jarvis Troup Municipal Library.”

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