Today is Power Up at Your Library Day all across Texas. Libraries are celebrating and demonstrating the many ways in which they have become vibrant learning and technology hubs. The Powered Libraries Facebook Page has been busy all day documenting dozens of exciting projects in which libraries are platforms for learning. Using library resources in maker spaces and through other projects, kids and adults are acquiring new skills, experimenting with technology, learning to write programs, building robots, designing prototypes for entrepreneurial projects, printing designs on 3-D printers, learning about science and math through creative games, tech back-packs, and other fun devices.
For our part, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission has provided many grants to libraries to experiment with maker spaces and other technology projects for all ages. Assistant State Librarian Gloria Meraz is observing Power Up at Your Library Day by presenting a TSLAC grant in the amount of $10,259 to the Flower Mound Public Library in North Texas. These funds will be used to purchase a minimum of 60 STEM kits for circulation to its patrons under the age of 18. The Library hopes to foster interest in STEM topics as early as preschool and continuing through high school.
We wish all our libraries statewide the utmost success in supporting technology education and exploration in their communities.
We were also very excited yesterday to watch the confirmation of Dr. Carla Hayden as the 14th Librarian of Congress. Dr. Hayden was formerly the Executive Director of the Enoch Pratt Free Library of Baltimore, a former president of the American Library Association, and one of the most respected librarians in the country. She is the first woman to occupy the post and the first African American. She was introduced by House Speaker, Rep. Paul Ryan, and sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts. Dr. Hayden’s appointment is so exciting because she understands the valuable role that libraries of all types can play in creating sustainable communities, safeguarding cultural heritage, and promoting educational and technological growth in our society. We will be cheering her on in her role as the nation’s most prominent librarian. For more background on this important story, see the excellent front-page article on Dr. Hayden in today’s New York Times.