Stephen Siwinski

Communications Officer

Powered Libraries Road Trip: 6 Days, 5 Cities, 7 Libraries

Thursday, June 29, 2017 • Austin, Texas • News Release

A graphic showing a paved road with a sign by the side of the road showing the icon of a person reading a book. On the left is a cactus with text next to it: West Texas Library Road Trip

West Texas – The Texas Library Association (TLA) is kicking off year two of our Powered Libraries campaign with a road trip through west Texas to highlight the wonderful, creative work libraries are doing in their communities. The campaign tour will visit six libraries in San Angelo, Midland, Fort Davis, Marathon, and El Paso to produce video spotlights dedicated to each library.

Over the course of five days, July 12-18, staff from TLA and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission will visit five cities and seven libraries – from one of the smallest public libraries in the state to an academic/research library nestled in the McDonald Observatory – unveiling the unique programming and collections each library offers.  Everyone is invited to j
oin us to experience this engaging library tour, where cutting edge technology and old-school pastimes combine to create an exciting programming, power civic engagement, enrich economic development and foster a lifelong passion for learning and discovery. 

Join us at these scheduled Powered Libraries Road Trip stops or follow along on the road trip via social media (#poweredlibraries). For more details visit   

San Angelo, TX
Wednesday, July 12 at 3:00pm | STEAM Central at Tom Green County Library

The Tom Green County Library recently received a $75,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, awarded by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Funds from this grant fueled the creativity behind STEAM Central, a state-of-the-art maker space located in the basement of the Stephens Central Library. Library staff partner with local organizations, area colleges, and invested advocates to bring innovative programming and projects to this hub of community connection. The campaign will visit with Clint Hudson, STEAM Central’s “Maker in Residence,” to learn how forging partnerships with local advocates has empowered the programming at Stephens Central Library.

Midland, TX
Thursday, July 13 at 12:00pm | Midland Public Library Knitting and Adult Coloring Groups

Midland Public Library has been praised for its visionary version of what a library of the future can offer. Cutting edge technology plugged into an engaging environment space offers libraries across Texas (and nationally) an example of the library as an exciting destination supporting civic engagement, economic development, and lifelong learning and discovery. For those looking to unplug, Midland Public Library also offers a variety of ways community members can sync-up through once-old, now modern pastimes, including a knitting group and adult coloring sessions. These close knit and colorful cliques provide a welcome repose from the stresses of a screen-filled, Wi-Fi world and offer their patrons a chance to truly connect, no password required.

Fort Davis, TX
Friday, July 14 at 3:00pm | University of Texas McDonald Observatory Library

The McDonald Observatory Library is located in the base of the Otto Struve dome, home of the 82-inch telescope perched high over Fort Davis, Texas. This unique library location serves the staff of the observatory, visiting astronomers, and members of the Department of Astronomy at the University of Texas.  Star-gazing students and select researchers have access to a variety of print and online resources focused mainly on astronomy and related fields. Highlights from the collection include hand-drawn maps of constellations, planets and other celestial celebrities, and historic images from the construction of the observatory that are truly out of this world.

Marathon, TX
Saturday, July 15 at 3:00pm | Marathon Public Library, Big Ideas from a Small Library

Nestled in one of the last outposts before Big Bend country, visitors will find a small library with some BIG ideas. Library Director Elizabeth Holt oversees the carefully curated collection at this cozy 720 sq.-foot branch. In addition to the onsite physical collection of books, magazines, and other circulating items (including a set of cake pans patrons can borrow to bake their next mouthwatering masterpiece), patrons also have access to more than 80,000 digital eBooks. Somehow Holt finds the space to host tinkering workshops, local history nights, book clubs, 3D printing sessions, yoga classes, and more in the friendly confines of her pint-sized public library. Marathon Public Library is smack dab in the middle of one of the darkest and starriest skies in the nation. When the sun goes down, Holt enlists the help of local astronomy buffs to set up telescopes for hands-on training in astro-photography as they party with the planets.

El Paso, TX
Monday, July 17 at 11:30am | El Paso Public Library Sow. Grow. RepEat. Seed Library

Out in the western-most Texas town of El Paso, green-thumbed patrons can get back to their roots at the Sow. Grow. RepEat. Seed Library. Seed libraries are places that share or lend seeds. Urban farmers can “check-out” seeds to grow themselves and return seeds to the library once they have harvested the fruits (and vegetables) of their labor to share with others. The program provides an alternative to genetically modified seeds, increases biodiversity and plant resilience, and reconnects El Paso residents with their food systems. The library offers classes and partners with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension El Paso Master Gardeners to share best practices and time-tested tricks to ensure a successful harvest for even the brownest of thumbs.

El Paso, TX
Monday, July 17 at 3:30pm | University of Texas
El Paso Image Collections
The University of Texas El Paso provides innovative services, programs, and resources that support the school’s mission of education, research, scholarship, and community service. The library is the home to a range of print and electronic information resources that meet the unique needs of its users in the multicultural university community and the U.S.–Mexico border region. The C. L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department includes the Chicano Collection, the Judaica Collection, the S. L. A. Marshall Military History Collection, the Southwest and Border Studies Collection, as well as collections of art and rare books. These special collections help paint a colorful portrait of the people that call the El Paso region home.


Ysleta del Sur Pueblo, TX
Tuesday, July 18 at 12:00pm | Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo Tribal Empowerment Library

Ysleta Del Sur Tigua Reservation Tribal Empowerment Library serves the members of the Pueblo through resources including youth programming and a specially designed Tuy Pathu “I am Tigua” curriculum blending cultural lessons with the foundational elements of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. The Tribal Empowerment Library houses more than 18,000 titles including a large native American collection and a recently added T’aiki Tiwa reference section. The library hosts a variety of intergenerational cultural activities that invite tribal elders to engage with younger members of the community to reinforce traditional values, methods, and culinary practices while instilling new skills to ready young minds for the challenges of today. 


About Powered Libraries

“Ideas Powered: It’s What We Do” (Powered Libraries) is a Texas Library Association initiative highlighting innovation, leadership, and technology centered work generated in today’s libraries. The Powered Libraries campaign seeks to broaden the public awareness of library services and provide resources for librarians to promote libraries as vital institutions in their communities. Last year, libraries across the state hosted over 300 creative programs for Power Up at Your Library Day. More than 30,000 library users, librarians, library staff, stakeholders, and dignitaries participated in the festivities. This year, Power Up Your Library Week is October 1 – 7.  #poweredlibraries