RSVP today to host a library watch party for The Future of Rural Texas symposium

Sharing a message from State Librarian Gloria Meraz

I want to share an invitation to local libraries statewide to once again host watch parties for the 2022 The Future of Rural Texas symposium. This free gathering is open to the public and will take place in Lubbock on November 17 and 18.  Libraries statewide may participate online.

Organized by The Texas Tribune, this event will also be streamed live online—and your library can join in. Participating libraries will receive a watch party toolkit, including everything needed to host an event. This is an opportunity for libraries to bring the conversations happening at The Future of Rural Texas forum to your community.

Complete the interest form by October 28, and The Future of Rural Texas organizers will reach out with resources to help make your event a success: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfDBQnFC_BKoZz1zpcJATwMpexchKBBntSeq7OjNJkVQQps1Q/viewform

Watch parties allow participants in local communities across the state to come together to view the symposium livestream and host discussions—at a time and place that is convenient for them. Libraries regularly bring concerned citizens together to talk about big topics that matter to rural communities. Libraries may host a watch party to view the full event or a portion of the event, or even break the program up by topic into mini weekly events. There are many programming possibilities, and the organizers have developed a toolkit to assist with planning.

More information about the symposium

State representatives, local lawmakers, and industry leaders will gather to discuss the biggest wins and toughest challenges facing Texas’ rural communities. So much attention is focused on Texas’ fast-growing urban areas, but there are 3 million rural Texans who have big needs.

This dialogue comes at an especially opportune time—the State of Texas, including the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) and Broadband Development Office, is working to implement the State’s broadband plan, which will guide strategy on how to close the digital divide, an issue of critical importance to rural Texas.

The TSLAC vision states that Texans will have access to information they need to live informed and productive lives. TSLAC is committed to supporting local libraries as they serve their communities as hubs for technology and digital inclusion. Texas libraries are currently on the cutting edge of many intersecting initiatives to make this mission a reality for Texans through training, workforce and small business development, technology literacy, telehealth, and much more.

The Future of Rural Texas 2022 sessions include:

  • Rural Texas and the 88th Legislature
  • Next session’s priorities: What’s likely, what’s possible, what’s on the wish list and how the budget surplus can benefit smaller communities across the state.
  • Educational Opportunity for All
  • From pre-K to college, how rural schools are meeting the challenges of preparing their students for life in the 21st century.
  • Ensuring Rural Health
  • A prescription for equitable health care access and outcomes in the state’s most far-flung counties.
  • Getting Connected
  • Broadband access is finally expanding across rural Texas. What this will mean for education, health care, economic development and more.
  • City Hall Confidential
  • Rural mayors talk about local control, spending and taxes, the old way of life vs. the modern world, and political realities.
  • Preserving Natural Resources
  • Will plentiful water, clean air and thoughtful land use be the future of rural Texas?
  • A Sound Economy
  • How rural communities are supporting industries, attracting businesses, creating jobs and training the next generation’s workforce.

I hope you will consider taking advantage of this opportunity to bring programming to your rural library.

Sincerely, Gloria Meraz

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