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/).
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.
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.
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.
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.
We are saddened by our loss of Jackie Icenhower. She brought vitality to the Atlanta Public Library, focusing services on addressing current needs while planning for what will be needed in the years ahead.
While Wilson County Libraries are closed to the public, they are making medical mask frames to help with the shortage of N-95 masks. Computer lab manager, Lesa McCall, heard about a neurosurgeon and dentist team in Billings, Montana who coded 3D printed facial masks that could extend the local clinic’s resources. It is a two part job that takes about 2 hours for one complete mask. The 3D printer needs a 100mm x 100mm build platform and can use either PLA or ABS plastic. While they are closed to the public their 3D Printer has been printing non stop to help first responders in the county.
The Jennie Trent Dew Library in Goldthwaite started their Reading Therapy Dog program with the help of 2 local dogs. See the photos for a glimpse of how well loved these dogs are. Congratulations to the children of Goldthwaite and the library staff for getting this going in their community!
Beginning in 2009 with a Texas Reads Grant, West teens plan, prepare, and present story time for local children at West Public Library each summer. Two dogs from Angel Paws in Waco visited the June 12th event. Over seventy teens have volunteered in the library’s Tale Tellers program since its 2009 debut.