New technology training and grant opportunity for small and rural Texas libraries

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The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is excited to announce that applications for a third year to apply for Library Technology Academy are now open! This opportunity is a training and grant program for libraries serving populations of 30,000 or less.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, access to technology and the internet is vital to living a robust and connected life and libraries have always been at the center of ensuring community connection. But many libraries struggle with keeping technology updated, communicating its value to stakeholders, and ensuring technology purchases meet unique community needs. This is where Library Technology Academy comes in!

What is the Library Technology Academy training grant?

Taught by nationally renowned library technologist, Carson Block, participants will go through an 8-week online training program, at the end of which they’ll devise a technology project that meets their community’s unique needs. Each library will then receive up to $10,000 in the form of a reimbursement grant to implement their proposed project.

Recent projects have included:

  • Implementing a self-service checkout station
  • Developing a WiFi hotspot lending program
  • Creating a digital memory lab
  • Engaging teens with gaming
  • Implementing a mobile classroom
  • Engaging the ESL community with translation technology

What will I learn at Library Technology Academy?
Participants will:

  • Learn how to consider their community’s needs when purchasing technology
  • Learn how to be strategic in maintaining and sustaining library technology using tried and true technology practices, templates and procedures;
  • Learn how to craft data-informed grant project proposals;
  • Connect with other small and rural libraries in Texas to learn and share successes and challenges

Testimonials from past participants:

“The Library Technology Academy was instrumental in guiding my limited knowledge of technology to a higher level. Although I was meeting online with many technologically savvy librarians and their colleagues, I never felt inadequate.  From a small, rural library, one-person view, I knew that this class would give the small community in which I work the opportunity to come into the 21st century. Thank you both for this invaluable opportunity, and I continue to grow in knowledge and understanding because of this.” Marianne McGinnis, Director of the Charlotte Public Library, Charlotte, Texas (pop. 3,965)

“The Library Technology Academy has been a game changer for our Library! Like most libraries we have always tried to look to the future when planning for the best technology to meet the needs of our community but have hesitated to try anything to new. My favorite part about the tech academy is that we were counseled by “experts” in both technology and library services. This program really taught us to dig deep and think about solutions and technology possibilities that we would have been too scared to consider before. Having colleagues to bounce ideas off was such a fun part of the program.”  — Andria Heiges, Director of Nancy Carol Roberts Memorial Library, Brenham, Texas (pop. 16,951).

How to Apply:
Applications are open from August 31 – September 28, 2020.
For more information, including requirements and eligibility, please refer to the  Library Technology Academy webpage!  Or take a virtual tour of the resources by watching this video.

When does it start?

The online training will run from mid-October – early December 2020. It will consist of the following:

  • Intensive LIVE introductory training:
    • Monday, October 19th: 10am – 4pm and Friday, October 23, 10am – 1pm
       
  • Weekly LIVE one-hour trainings during the following weeks: October 26 through December 14.
    The day and time of the training will be decided by participant consensus after attendees meet for the introductory training.

Contact Information:

If you need assistance with the application process or have further questions, please contact Cindy Fisher, Digital Inclusion Consultant and Library Technology Academy program manager, at cfisher@tsl.texas.gov

This project is made possible by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to TSLAC under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.

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