AUSTIN (KXAN) — Children going to the Travis County Courthouse with their parents now have free reading material available to them.
BookSpring donated 120 children’s books, including 30 books in Spanish, to the bookcase on the fifth floor of the courthouse.
“We may have no place to put these children who are stuck in the hallways on court matters that no kids should ever have to face, but at least we can make their experience a little less scary and more pleasant by providing them a book to read, while often sitting on the stairs or on the floor,” said David Courreges, director of the Austin Bar Association.
A bond item to build a new $281 million family and civil courthouse downtown failed to pass in a 49-51 split in November.
Judge Krump and the Austin Bar Association, who are behind the free books project, hope to expand the bookcases to other floors and eventually a reading room on the first floor.
The current Travis County Courthouse at 10th and Guadalupe streets was built back in 1931, when the county’s population was less than 78,000 people. It now has 19 courtrooms. Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt said at the time, the “building is old, too small for our current needs and in serious disrepair.”
She said it’s also unsafe. “Often the biggest risk, to security in a court system is not your felony docket. The biggest risk to security is your family docket when people are arguing over their children.”