AUSTIN – State Rep. Jim Pitts, R-Waxahachie, was recently honored at the Texas Library Association’s annual assembly.

Pitts, whose district includes Ellis and Hill counties, served as keynote speaker for the luncheon, which hosted about 150 people from across the state.

The association presented Pitts with its Consummate Library Hero and Champion Award in recognition of his endeavor on behalf of libraries in Texas.

“Libraries have always played a big part in my life,” Pitts said. “I was taken to the library, along with my two siblings as a child, and I have depended on that resource all my life.”

Pitts serves on the Nicholas P. Sims Library board of directors in Waxahachie, a position he has held for more than 20 years.

As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Pitts shepherded the appropriations bill through the House. With his help, libraries received $3.5 million for the Loan Star Libraries Program, $1.5 million for library systems across the state and $275,000 for the Talking Book Program, items included as part of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s budget. Loan Star Libraries provided direct aid to public libraries to cover any type of expenses, excluding construction projects.

Susan Mann, director of the Hillsboro City Library, praised Pitts for his assistance during the 81st Legislature.

“Jim has always been a friend to public libraries in Texas,” Mann said. “He understands the needs of the library community and I appreciate his willingness to give consideration to our budget requests.”

“The work I have done on behalf of libraries is really a labor of love,” Pitts said. “Having access to good reading material and current resources is necessary for students and adults alike.

“I realize the funds allocated for libraries will support such projects as literacy, English as a second language and automation,” he said.

Patrick Heath, association president, presented Pitts with a plaque of appreciation. In his remarks, Heath expressed his appreciation to Pitts “on behalf of the millions of people across the state of Texas who will benefit from the additional funding provided to public libraries.”