PEC also awarded a $3,400 grant to Highland Lakes Canine Rescue to upgrade the shelter’s lighting and add programmable thermostats, which should save the organization money that can then be invested in its animals.
The grants were two of eight totaling $35,000 that PEC recently awarded.
Every spring and fall, PEC gives out grants up to $5,000 each to eligible nonprofits to fund projects in the cooperative’s service area. Funds come from through the PEC’s Power of Change program, to which members contribute by either rounding up their electric bills to the nearest dollar or making a one-time donation to charities. PEC members, or customers, can enroll in the program online.
“We plan to get started right away on the tech and study bar,” said Theodosia Schmidt, president of the Friends group that helps support the Bertram Library, also known as the Joann Cole Mitte Memorial Library, 170 S. Gabriel St. in Bertram. “This grant helped tremendously.”
The study bar will have semi-private pods where patrons can plug in and connect their devices to the library’s internet. Library furniture tends to be expensive because it’s built to handle a lot of wear and tear, Schmidt said. The grant will cover most of the project’s cost, and the Friends group and library will chip in the rest.
The addition will be a vital amenity for patrons. Libraries are more than just places to check out books, Schmidt pointed out. They have become community hubs where people can learn skills, look for jobs, and explore the web using a facility’s internet connection. Many rural residents, including in Burnet County, don’t have reliable, high-speed internet, so they go to their libraries.
“As libraries have morphed into more than the books and movies — which are still very important — more people are coming in looking to work on their resumes, look for jobs, hold (virtual) meetings,” Schmidt said.
The study bar project could be completed by the end of the year, she said.
“We’re just really grateful to our community and the support they give us and to PEC for this grant,” she added.