2019 TLA Award Winners
Congratulations to the 2019 TLA Award winners! These librarians represent excellence in librarianship and were honored for their contributions to the library profession.
Kashmere Neighborhood Library received the 2019 Texas Library Association Libraries Change Communities Award.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the Kashmere Gardens Neighborhood library (Houston, TX) became a temporary sanctuary for people in the community, providing shelter and safety from the rising flood waters. Working with the Houston Health Department, the library was able to open a temporary mini-branch location one month after the storm, allowing customers to have access to computers, internet, and books. Library staff successfully hosted programs including English classes, computer classes, and a summer reading program. The library now serves as a liaison for customers and agencies, letting everyone know of resources available. Providing these services, staff was aware that they were not just connecting customers to programs, but they were also connecting with customers on a more personal level, being a shoulder to cry on, and letting them know they were not alone in finding their way back to normal.
Maria Elena Ovalle received the 2019 Texas Library Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
After serving as a biology teacher for 16 years, Maria Elena Ovalle (Edinburg, TX) became a librarian in 1992, starting with an elementary school before moving to a high school. As a librarian, Ovalle collaborated with teachers and hosted many student activities. In 1998, Ovalle transferred to become the Internet/network specialist for Edinburg CISD, a position she held until 2000, after which she became the coordinator of library services and instructional resources for Region One Education Service Center. She stayed at this position until her retirement in 2014.
One of Ovalle’s greatest accomplishments is creating the Tejas Star Book Award (now the TLA Tejas Star Reading List), to support the bilingual population in the Rio Grande Valley.
Now retired, Ovalle continues to support the library community in her city and region, as well as being active in TLA and other state-level roles.
Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD received the 2019 Texas Library Association Wayne Williams Library Project of the Year Award. (Hurst, TX; Euless, TX; Bedford, TX)
HEB Reads! is a partnership between the Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD and the public libraries in Hurst, Euless, and Bedford, Texas that began in 2015. The program was developed to lessen the negative effects of the summer reading slide, which is the tendency for children to lose some of the gains they made during the previous school year.
In addition to the reading program, the HEB Reads! team wrote a Texas State Library and Archives Commission grant for an outreach vehicle. They were awarded the grant which was used to purchase the Think Tank, a mobile STEM lab that travels to school and city events each week. The Think Tank contains STEM activities that focus on coding, constructing and creating. Launched in September 2017, the vehicle is manned at events by school and city librarians.
Eric Lashley received the 2019 Texas Library Association Librarian of the Year award.
Eric Lashley has served at the director of the Georgetown Public Library for 18 years. During that time, Lashley has taken innovative approaches to the technological and existential challenges libraries face and developed a dynamic, beloved public library that is a model for others across the state and the country.
In 2018, under Lashley’s leadership, Georgetown Public Library was awarded the National Medal for Museum and Library Service by the Institute for Library and Museum Services, recognizing the library as a model for others across the country. It was only the second library in Texas to ever win the National Medal.
Coach Gary and Kelsey Patterson and the Gary Patterson Foundation received the 2019 Texas Library Association Benefactor Award.
The Gary Patterson Foundation made the decision in early 2018 to expand the foundation’s mission to support all the elementary school libraries in Fort Worth ISD. The foundation awarded 38 campus libraries grants of up to $10,000. The total amount given during the first semester of the 2018-2019 school year was $325,000. Campus libraries purchased new furniture, books, technology, and décor, and arranged for visiting authors, and Reading is Fundamental (RIF) distributions for their students.