LCRA awards $19,904 grant to Brownwood library

New lighting and shelves will help make the library more inviting

April 30, 2019

​​​​​Local Communities
LCRA representatives present a $19,904 grant to the Carnegie Public Library Association of Brownwood to purchase new lighting and shelving for the Brownwood Public Library. The grant is part of LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program. Pictured, from left to right, are: Ruth Smith, library board member; Jerome Smith, library supporter; Larry Mathis, Brownwood City Councilmember; Rebecca Isbell, library director; Emily Crawford, City of Brownwood city manager; Bill Blagg, library board member; Charles B. "Bart" Johnson, LCRA Board member; Nancy Romig, library board member; Steve Dyer, LCRA Regional Affairs representative; Suzanne Prosise, library board member; and Bob Contreras, Brown County grants coordinator.

Thanks to a $19,904 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority, the Brownwood Public Library soon will have new lighting and forward-facing shelves to encourage even the community’s youngest members to enjoy books.

The grant will allow the Carnegie Public Library Association of Brownwood to replace the building’s original lights installed in 1966. Library Director Rebecca Isbell says the current system includes burnt-out ballasts and a mish-mash of flickering, buzzing lights of different hues. The new LED lights will make the library brighter, creating a more inviting space with healthier, safer lighting. Isbell estimates the change to LED lights will save the library more than $2,000 annually.

“The annual savings with LED lights will mean additional money invested in the community – rather than electricity – for years to come,” Isbell said. “While it may not sound exciting, the impact of this project – both immediate and over the course of many years – is huge for the library and the community.”

The library also will install new shelves that display picture books face-out, allowing young visitors to browse and choose a book by colors or pictures even before they can read. Since picture books are generally a child’s first introduction to books, making that early experience fun and inviting can help foster a child’s interest in reading and learning, Isbell said.

“The star of picture books is the pictures,” Isbell said. “Not only do they have beautiful, original artwork, but their intended audience is the little ones who have not learned to read. When a 2-year-old is taken to the library, we want them to be able to browse the picture books in a way natural to them – by looking at the pictures.”

Isbell said libraries with forward-facing books typically see a 25-40 percent increase in circulation of materials.

The Brownwood Public Library serves all of Brown County, and any Texas resident can get a library card and use the library for free.

The community grant is awarded through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which provides economic development and community assistance grants to cities, counties, volunteer fire departments, regional development councils and other nonprofit organizations in LCRA’s wholesale electric and water service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves.

Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted July 1-31, 2019. More information is available at

About LCRA
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to enhancing the lives of Texans through water stewardship, energy and community services. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934. For more information, visit

Media Contact
Clara Tuma