Library fund to support furloughed workers

By Mary Wilonsky

Friends of the Dallas Public Library has established a fund to provide support to library staff furloughed in May as a result of the pandemic that has shut library doors and strained municipal budgets.

Photo courtesy of Texas Hill Country

HALO-Dallas, which stands for Help A Library Worker Out, is modeled after a national program to assist library staff in the wake of the current health and economic crises. On May 13, the City of Dallas announced that 187 library employees – nearly half of the total workforce – were being furloughed through July 31.

“Libraries are so much more than books and buildings,” said Walt McCool, Board Chairman of Friends of the Dallas Public Library, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the library and supports its programs. “The wonderful people who work there are an indispensable part of this great institution, and we need to be there for them in these tough times.”

Friends of the Dallas Public Library has kicked off the HALO fund with a $5,000 donation and is appealing to the public to contribute. All donations are fully tax-deductible.

Under the program guidelines, any furloughed library staff member can apply for a one-time, no-strings-attached grant of up to $250 to cover any expenses. The grants will continue as long as the fund’s resources last and can be replenished with more donations. All money raised for the HALO fund will be channeled directly to the furloughed employees.

“This certainly won’t solve all the problem,” McCool said. “But it will help those who need it. It’s also a way for all of us to show the library staff how much we appreciate them, and how much they mean to our city.”

For more information, and to donate, please log on to

Library staff can apply for a grant at the same site.