Category Archives: Awards & Honors

San Marcos hosts Tomás Rivera Children’s Book Award 20th Anniversary Lit Fair

The San Marcos Public Library hosted the Tomás Rivera Children’s Book Award 20th Anniversary Children’s Literature Fair on Saturday, September 26th. There were 13 participating authors and illustrators celebrating this major milestone for the award, including Duncan Tonatiuh, 2015 winner for Separate is Never Equal. Kids from all 6 local public elementary schools and the pre-k campus were in a Book Parade and numerous student groups from Austin (including Becker, GoValle and Perez) and surrounding communities came to participate.  They report that at least a dozen schools represented and that attendance was in the thousands!

Oh, and they made NBC News. Sounds like a fantastic event! Wonderful job, San Marcos! Congrats.









Centennial Library in Midland Won a National Design Award!


The Centennial Library in Midland won the 2014 Library Interior Design Awards in the large public library category.

The library is stunning. It is very open with video images projected on the floor, large artist trees, curved walkways, a recording studio, and a strong emphasis on youth services.

View a gallery of all the winning entries at Images of the winning projects will also be published in American Libraries magazine.



Honey Grove Library Receives Many Accolades

The Bertha Voyer Memorial Library in Honey Grove, TX have recently received several exciting awards: Finalist for the Best Small Library in America for 2014 (awarded at PLA), Ebsco’s Excellence in Small/Rural Public Library Service Award

(that will be awarded at ALA) and a YALSA Teen Week Grant for our Robotics.  They have also been named Finalist for the National Medal of Honor from IMLS and Library Director Pattie Mayfield was selected as this year’s SCLRT Librarian of the Year for TLA. What fantastic achievements! Congratulations!

Edinburg Library Director Letty Leija named 2013 Woman of the Year

Our congratulations to Letty Leija! What an honor!

Letty S. Lejia

Leticia S. Leija, Director of the Dustin M. Sekula Memorial Library

Date: 10/16/2013

UTPA President Dr. Robert S. Nelsen and Dustin M. Sekula Library Director Leticia S. Leija to be honored as Edinburg Chamber Man and Woman of the Year

Edinburg –  The Edinburg Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce 2013 Man and Woman of the Year, The University of Texas- Pan America President Dr. Robert S. Nelsen and Dustin Michael Sekula Memorial Library Director Leticia S. Leija. Please join us to honor them at the Chamber’s Annual Installation Banquet to be held on Thursday, October 24th at 6pm. This year the event will take place at Echo Hotel and Conference center located at 1903 S. Closner Rd. in Edinburg.   The Installation Banquet is being held to recognize Mr. Robert McGurk as incoming Chairman and Ms. Dina Araguz as outgoing chairman for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. Tickets to attend the Annual Banquet are $30 per person, or $300 for a table of 8. Attire will be business casual and all are encouraged to attend this wonderful event.

 Dr. Robert S. Nelsen is the 8th President of The University of Texas-Pan American and is into his third year as head of this Valley institution.  He comes to South Texas with a distinguished 30-year career in educational leadership and community service.

Dr. Nelsen continued his education by earning a Ph.D. from the Committee on Social Thought at The University of Chicago.  His Ph.D. fields of specialization are modern literature, modern philosophy and modern political theory. Today he’s a literature and philosophy scholar, experienced administrator, award-winning professor, published writer and author.

Leticia S. Leija, Director of the Dustin M. Sekula Memorial Library, has worked with the City of Edinburg for over 21 years.  She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice in 1990 from the University of Texas –Pan American and a Masters in Library Science from the University of North Texas in 2000.

Ms. Leija was initially hired as the Children’s Librarian in 1992 and became the Library Director in 2003.  In 2006, Ms. Leija was instrumental in the planning of the new Dustin M. Sekula Memorial Library located at 1906 S. Closner Blvd.  Her passion for library services and leadership has helped the Library receive various “Excellence in Library Services Awards” and a Congressional Recognition Award from Congressman Ruben Hinojosa for the Library’s service in the community.  For her dedication and contributions to the community, Ms. Leija has also been featured as an “Orgullo del Valle/Pride of the Valley” in the local Univision and Fox TV Channels.

Among Man and Woman of the Year, the Chamber of Commerce will also recognize the Chamber Ambassador of the Year:  Agustin Lozano Jr. (Bert Ogden Dealer Group), the Outstanding Leadership Award recipient: Marissa Castaneda (Doctors Hospital at Renaissance), and City of Edinburg Firefighter of the Year: Carlos Lopez. For more information on this event, please call the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956-383-4974.


Bell/Whittington Library a Finalist

Portland LibraryCongratulations to  the Bell Whittington Public Library, Portland, TX and Rose Aleta Laurell, Director!

This library was named a finalist in the IMLS Best Small Library in America competition!

“Serving a population of 15,099 in a satellite community near Corpus Christi, this library does an awful lot with the $29 per capita budget at its disposal. The judges noted innovative outreach that can easily be duplicated by other libraries, while judge Julie Hildebrand called it “amazing considering the size of their staff,” just three full-time, four part-time. The library’s recent record of programming with high attendance numbers and a strong focus on technology is well demonstrated by the “Seniors in Cyberspace” program held in partnership with senior centers and other community sites such as the local Dairy Queen restaurants. Attendance for the course reached 1,758, with evaluations showing 100 percent rate of achievement in signing up for new email addresses.”

Library Journal Five-Star Libraries!

Congratulations to the following Library Journal five-star libraries! Bee Cave Public Library in Bee Cave, Tri-Community Library in Prairie Lea, Black Bridge Library in Dime Box, and Claud H. Gilmer Memorial Library in Rocksprings. The D. Brown Library in Rosebud and the Real County Library in Leakey are 3-star libraries. We applaud the hard work and dedication it took to reach this goal.

Pflugerville’s LCRA Grant

The Friends of the Pflugerville Community Library were awarded the 2012 Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Community Development Program grant in the amount of $25,000 to assist in the development of a Water Use Demonstration Courtyard in the expansion of the Pflugerville Community Library. Mayor Jeff Coleman, City Council members, and Friends of the Pflugerville Community Library were at the Library on Friday, June 1 to receive the check from LCRA representatives.

“The Friends of the Pflugerville Community Library were absolutely thrilled and delighted to learn that the LCRA decided to fund our project,” Barbara Shable, President of the Friends of the Pflugerville Community Library said. “What a joy and delight it will be to offer the citizens of Pflugerville a beautiful environment in the courtyard of the Library to learn about water conservation and innovative ways to accomplish those goals. This wonderful program will also complement the city of Pflugerville’s green efforts.”

To maximize the grant, the LCRA grant funds will be matched by the city of Pflugerville for the $80,000 water courtyard which will include installation of a 4900 gallon John Deere galvanized steel cistern and limestone fountain to enhance the courtyard. The cistern will collect rainwater and use it to feed a splashing fountain and provide irrigation to xeriscape native flowerbeds. The courtyard will also include a green trellis to temper hot summers and cold winters.

The courtyard will be designed and constructed by Piwonka-Sturrock Architecture and Lee Lewis Construction in association with Whitney Proffitt of Coleman and Associates.  Library staff and the Friends plan to utilize the LCRA’s water features for educational programs directed to the children of the community. With easy access from the story time area, the courtyard will be accessible for demonstrations of the ease, beauty and importance of water conservation. (Pictured: Friends of the Pflugerville Community Library:  Pam Stephenson, JoAnne Thornton, Audrey Dearing, Carol McLaurin Dana Leary, Dorothy Kraemer, President of the Friends Barbara Shable, LCRA Board Chair Tim Timmerman, Mayor Jeff Coleman, Mayor Pro-Tem Victor Gonzales, Assistant City Manager Lauri Gillam, Assistant Library Director Jennifer Coffey, Library Director Lisa Charbonnet and City Manager Brandon Wade.)

Pat Tuohy Receives TLA’s Distinguished Service Award

At the TLA Conference this past week, Pat received the TLA Distinguished Service AwardWe are so proud of her! This award recognizes substantial demonstration of leadership to the profession. For over 30 years, Patricia Tuohy has provided outstanding leadership for the Central Texas Library System, a system that has grown from 37 to 80 libraries during her tenure.  She has also held a number of diverse TLA responsibilities, most notably serving as the Local Arrangements chair for Legislative Day in Austin since it began in the 1980s. Congratulations, Pat, for this well-deserved recognition!