All posts by Paul Waak

Marathon Public Library Named Finalist for 2021 IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Marathon Public Library (http://www.marathonpubliclibrary.org/) is among 30 finalists for the 2021 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Marathon Public Library is the only institution in Texas selected as a finalist for this award.

The National Medal is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries that demonstrate significant impact in their communities. For more than 25 years, the award has honored institutions that demonstrate excellence in service to their communities.

“Marathon Public Library is honored to be recognized for the services it provides to a community that values its public library,” said Board President Erin Albright. “This nomination highlights the dedication and hard work of our staff who work with many individuals and community partners to create innovative, engaging programs that have a deep and long-lasting impact on our community. We are so fortunate that our patrons and visitors support our Library in so many ways. They are committed to our children, teen, and adult programs. They enjoy the breadth and depth of our collections, and they depend on the Library for technology services that help bridge the digital divide. It is truly our patrons who inspire our staff, volunteers, and Board Members to keep our community connected to the world.”

To celebrate this honor, IMLS is encouraging Marathon Public Library’s community members to share stories, memories, pictures, and videos on social media on Friday, April 16, 2021, as part of the Share Your Story campaign, using the #IMLSmedals hashtag, and engage with IMLS on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, please visit the IMLS website (https://www.imls.gov/).

National Medal winners will be announced in late spring. Representatives from winning institutions will be honored for their extraordinary contributions during a virtual National Medal Ceremony this summer. To see the full list of finalists and learn more about the National Medal, visit the IMLS website at https://www.imls.gov/news/imls-names-finalists-2021-national-medal-museum-and-library-service.

Edinburg Library opens 24-Hour Warming Center

The arctic freeze of February 2021 will be remembered as a time with not only cold temperatures unseen in in the Rio Grande Valley since the 1980s but also as the time darkness descended upon Texas.  Massive blackouts throughout the State due to the freezing temperatures left the City of Edinburg, like the rest of the state, with most of its residents in the dark and without heat.  Students were left without school and many found their homes unbearably cold, especially when used to 75-degree weather this time of year. 

The City of Edinburg City Manager quickly turned to the City’s public library, the Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library, for assistance.  Library Director, Letty Leija, knowing the staff’s willingness to serve their community quickly agreed to open a 24-Hour Warming Center. The Library Meeting Room as well as a portion of the Children’s area were converted into a temporary shelter with the help of the City’s Fire Department and the Library quickly opened its doors to those who needed a warm place to be and where individuals and families could stay until power was restored at their homes.

Charging center for electronic devices

Residents had access to the Library’s WiFi and computers and were encouraged to charge their electronic devices. City officials asked residents to bring their own bedding, medication, and food. To ensure the safety of all, residents were screened, and temperatures were checked at the door and all social distancing guidelines were strictly enforced and face coverings were required to be worn. Police and Fire Dept. personnel were always also present for any emergency situation.

Over 220 residents without electricity turned to the Library’s 24-Hour Warming Center to warm up and charge their cell phones, laptops, and other electronic devices or stayed through the night.

Cots in a warming center for people with nowhere warm to rest

To make the space as normal as possible, children were given free books to read and had the opportunity to enjoy movies and complimentary snacks.

The 24-Hour Warming Center was also a great opportunity for the Library staff to reconnect with the community that up to this point due to Covid-19, they had provided services to through virtual programming and curbside service. Despite the cold, in the City of Edinburg, February 2021 will also be remembered as the time the City joined forces to provide for their own.

Free Summer Reading Webinars

We all need inspiration as we gear up for summer reading program planning. Here’s your chance to get renewed and refreshed!

Central Texas Library System (CTLS) along with support from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is offering four webinars. All four webinars are free of charge for all Texas libraries. No accounts or memberships are needed. The webinars will be recorded and archived by TSLAC Continuing Education and Consulting.

Continue reading Free Summer Reading Webinars

RGC Library Anniversary

From Norma Fultz,

I hope you have a wonderful New Year!! Time truly marches on, I can’t believe the Rio Grande City Public Library was established on August 1, 1990. I started working at the library on September 1, 1990. I often joke the library is my third child, my son Frank was born in March 1990. It’s been quite a journey. We didn’t get to celebrate as planned, however, my staff did surprise me one morning. I love that together with my staff we continue to make a positive impact in our community. 

Continue reading RGC Library Anniversary

CTLS Executive Director Laurie Mahaffey Retires

Laurie Mahaffey, a CTLS employee for 29 2/3 years, is retiring at the end of January 2021. Please join us for a virtual farewell party on Friday, January 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Directions to join the meeting will be distributed on the CTLS listserv and elsewhere on January 18, the Monday before.

Wish Laurie well as she rides off into the sunset!