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Small and Rural Texas Libraries in Crisis

Most of our member libraries are from small and rural communities. 2.8 million people are served by 361 small and rural libraries in Texas. These libraries receive little or no state funding. 39% of these do not have any full-time staff, and 80% do not have an MLS accredited by the American Library Association staff member. Those libraries that do have staff are generally unable to to pay a living wage; the average salary for staff at libraries serving <12K is $28,700 only 4K over the poverty line (the average salary for a rural Texas person is $42,214). As a result, turnover is high, institutional memory is low, external sources of funding are scarce, and the capacity for these libraries to effectively serve their audiences is extremely limited.

Were these fragile libraries able to build their capacity, they might be better equipped to support their communities. Their isolation, however, compounds their lack of effectiveness. A supportive structure that can quickly respond to the varied gaps in organizational effectiveness would be of significant benefit, helping these libraries navigate challenges related to staff, collections, facilities, and funding. By building the capacity of small and rural libraries, these libraries can increase their capacity to aspire to established standards for library services, and, by extension, better respond to their communities.

Internally, we identify our services to the small/rural libraries as a “lifeline”. PLAN is often the only organization these libraries can turn to for assistance.

The fact is many of our member libraries struggle to pay the annual $300 membership fee and are struggling to keep their doors open to the public. Our membership fees equal less than 1/3 of our total revenues. PLAN relies on foundational support, grants, fees, and personal and organizational donations to operate.

Sustained Giving (with some suggested giving levels)
  • $100 : Library Edition Audiobook Level
  • $50 : Library Edition Ebook Level
  • $30 : Hardback Level
  • $20 : Trade Paperback Level
  • $10 : Mass Market Paperback Level
  • $5 : Children’s Paperback Level
Help Me Plan My Giving

What are some of the average costs for what PLAN does for public libraries?

  • In-person Workshops : $3,000
  • Consulting Reports : $900
  • On-site Consulting : $600
  • On-line Workshops : $450
  • Remote Consulting : $50