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Jeanette & Jim Larson Grant

Open to public libraries to enhance the mystery genre in any format.

Longtime TLA member Jeanette Larson and her late husband, Jim, an architect, established this fund to help a public library or public library branch annually acquire materials in the mystery genre to delight their customers. Jeanette is a well-known library consultant, children’s services specialist, and author with work experience at the Mesquite Public Library, Austin Public Library, and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Both Jeanette and Jim are voracious mystery readers and viewers, borrowing many books, videos, and audiobooks from their public library. The fund is their way of giving back to all the libraries they have used. The Committee seeks to understand how applicant libraries will expand their collections; entice new users to their libraries and how this grant will update or expand their collections.

Application is open to any public library in the state of Texas, including individual branch libraries of a larger library system. A public library is defined by the Texas Administrative Code:

A public library must be established to render general library services. The library must be established as:

  1. a department of a city or county government by charter, resolution, or ordinance; or by contract as provided for in the Government Code, Chapter 791; or
  2. a library district established under the provisions of Local Government Code, Chapter 326, Library Districts; or
  3. a library district established under the provisions of Local Government Code, Chapter 336, Multi-Jurisdictional Library Districts; or
  4. a nonprofit corporation chartered by the Office of the Secretary of State for the purposes of providing free public library services; these corporations must have a current contract with each funding source (a city, county, or school district) to provide free public library services for the city, county, or school district.

Number and Amount of Awards

The number and amount of awards will depend upon the net income produced by the established fund. At least one grant of $500 is awarded annually.

Expenditures of Awards

According to the Grant Program, funds awarded will be used solely for the purchase of library material identified in the mystery genre of fiction. For the purposes of this document, the mystery genre is defined as follows:

This popular genre is made up of a variety of different types of books, including “cozies” or traditional, police procedurals, hard-boiled detectives, women sleuths, legal thrillers, and psychological thrillers. A mystery features a detective (either professional or amateur) who solves a crime, featuring a puzzle, which is equally mysterious at the outset to both the detective and the reader. Legal stories, suspense novels, gothics, and novels of espionage or international intrigue are not included in this definition.

Any material falling within these general parameters may be included; format is not at issue. It may be a book, any audio visual material (DVD; Blu-Ray; Book on CD or MP-3), or e-content. Foreign language material would be acceptable. Material for any age is also suitable. No reading sets will be purchased with the grant funds. Items must be purchased; no subscriptions or lease programs are acceptable.

Preparing the application

Please prepare a narrative for review criteria one through five, not to exceed a total of 3 type-written pages. The bibliography (criteria #6), is not included in the 3 page limit. Please use 12-point font, either Arial or Times New Roman, and include the following information, in ONE document. This will be requested from every applicant and serves only as points of data, not a determination of eligibility. Please delineate your grant utilizing the sections described below so the Committee will have an easier time understanding how you are addressing each point.

  1. Description of Library
    Provide a brief description of the public library and its service area, including staff and hours open. Include information about your library’s patrons so the reviewers have a sense of the community being served. Narrow your focus to the one particular segment of the population that the grant will address.
  2. Community Engagement
    Discuss cooperative arrangements that your library has within your community, such as with other public libraries, school libraries, or organizations such as Rotary. Discuss how these partnerships help foster literacy and the love of reading in your community. Collaborative partnerships within the community should be the focus, not routine outreach.
  3. Community Impact
    Provide a detailed statement outlining the impact of the grant on the collection and the community. This may include filling gaps in the collection, adding new authors to the collection, expanding the collection to new user groups, or adding new formats to the collections. Provide evidence, such as borrowing or inter-library loan statistics, to show that the grant money is needed for the mystery genre in the library. Provide selection criteria used to compile the preliminary bibliography of titles to be purchased with the grant money. Discuss who will benefit from the inclusion of these titles in the collection. Discuss how the grant money supports your library’s mission. Make a case for why this grant money is important for the library.
  4. Marketing and Promotion
    Discuss in detail how the materials purchased with the grant money will be marketed to the library’s community. This may include displays, press releases, book discussion groups or other methods. PLEASE NOTE: Beginning with the 2020 grant winner, TLA requests a copy of what was used for marketing the winning grant. Pictures of the materials and any events where the materials were used are encouraged as well. The goal is to build a history and create promotional items for the grant.
  5. Staff/Consultant
    Provide the name and qualifications of the library staff person or consultant who will be responsible for the selection of materials.
  6. Bibliography
    Provide a preliminary bibliography of materials under consideration for purchase if the grant is received. Include the author, title, date of publication, and prices for books, DVDs, audio material, or e-content, of all items. Include a discussion of how the money will be allocated so the funds have a targeted impact on the collection. Any amount over what the grant will cover should include how the overage will be covered.


  • Announcement of grant opportunity – October 1
  • Deadline for the submission of grant applications –  January 31
  • Preliminary scoring and critiques by reviewers completed – February 26
  • The committee will meet via the internet (currently Zoom) to discuss scoring and determine an overall winner
  • AS NEEDED – Committee meets to review, discuss, and assign final scores on first day of annual conference
  • Recipient of the grant is announced by the conclusion of annual conference
  • Unsuccessful applicants notified within 2 weeks of the end of annual conference



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