The Loan Star Libraries grant program provided aid to HCPL and libraries throughout the state to expand library services for all Texans. Through this program, HCPL was able to provide Harris County residents with improved access to computers, expanded library collections, better furniture, and innovative programming. Loan Star grants also helped us furnish the newly renovated Jacinto City Branch and allowed eight HCPL branches to host the immensely popular Summer Art Camps  for area children. Unfortunately, due to budget cuts at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission , 2011 was Loan Star Libraries’ final year of operation. Loan Star’s support will be missed.
HCPL is fortunate to have received generous financial assistance from many other organizations in 2011. A matching grant from the early literacy advocates Reading Is Fundamental  allowed us to provide over 3600 free books to children of low income families in Harris County. Similarly, the local Hamman Foundation and Zinn Foundation lent the financial assistance to our Children’s Summer Reading Program that let us present a book to every child who successfully completed the required reading. The North Shore Rotary Club donated funding for an early literacy center at our North Channel Branch Library.
With a generous grant from the Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program  (BTOP) we were able to hire technology training assistants to teach free computer classes at nine of our branches, and install fiber optics at several libraries, greatly increasing the speed of internet access on public computers. The BTOP grant also has funded the renovation and expansion of the Jacinto City Branch Library that was completed in December, as well as similar improvements now underway to the Galena Park and South Houston branches including the addition of new computer labs.
HCPL is grateful for the support of these organizations. Their contributions are a crucial factor in our ability to serve our customers, and we hope to maintain lasting partnerships with them. At the same time, we will explore and pursue new sources of funding so that we may continue to provide the people of Harris County with the quality facilities and services they deserve.