What We Do
The Austin Public Library Friends Foundation conducts a broad range of programs and activities that support the library in numerous and diverse ways. Many of the Foundation’s programs are devoted to literacy, reading, and increasing the entire community’s access to information and knowledge.
Austin Teen Book Festival
Thank you to everyone who participated in making the 2011 Austin Teen Book Festival a memorable event! The Festival, which took place at the Palmer Events Center, featured thirty of the most popular and critically acclaimed young adult fiction authors in the country, including Texas born and raised author Scott Westerfeld as keynote speaker. Among the celebrated authors involved in the themed panel discussions were Margo Rabb, Cristina Garcia, Varian Johnson and Cynthia Leitich Smith.
The 2012 Austin Teen Book Festival will take place at the Palmer Events Center on Saturday, September 29, 2012.
For additional information visit austinteenbookfestival.com.
New Fiction Confab
The New Fiction Confab is an annual literary event featuring some of America’s most prominent emerging writers for readings, Q & A’s, and panel discussions.
Click here to see details of the April 2012 New Fiction Confab.
The Mayor’s Book Club
The Mayor’s Book Club is an annual citywide reading campaign to develop a community experience through reading and discussion of a shared book. Additionally, the program’s goal is to broaden and deepen an appreciation of literature in the Austin community and to increase the visibility of the Austin Public Library and to promote its value to the entire community.
Several hundred readers take part in Mayor’s Book Club programming in any given year. Special events include discussion groups facilitated by well known Austinites, (past moderators have included Governor Ann Richards, Liz Carpenter, Ray Benson, Julie Leffingwell, and many others), film screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse, and receptions at City Hall hosted by the Mayor.
Previous titles include: Amigoland by Oscar Casares, The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer; A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah; Around the Bloc by Stephanie Elizondo Griest; The Devil's Highway by Louis Alberta Urrea; Writing Austin's Lives: A Community Portrait by The People of Austin; All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy; Holes by Louis Sachar and Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya.
The 2012 Mayor's Book Club selection is 2011 National Book Award winner Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward. Visit our News page for details.
Dell Discovery Lab
Located at the Willie Mae Kirk Branch Library, the Dell Discovery Lab opened in April 2012 to help young people in Austin develop the skills needed to fully participate in this globalized technological society. Lab activities include a range of puzzles and activities that exercise four skills: Communication and Collaboration, Innovation and Creativity, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, and Technological Literacy. The Discovery Lab is made possible through a Dell Powering the Possible Learning Grant.
For a decade, the Austin Public Library has proudly offered an award-winning Teen Services program to the teens of Austin. In 2009 Connected Youth introduced laptops and creative new programs to the Austin Public Library system. Connected Youth is an expansion of the Wired for Youth Centers that the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, the City of Austin, and the Library Foundation established in 2000.
Each Teen Center has laptops which are available for check-out, and is staffed with a Teen Services Librarian who is there to assist kids with their technological and informational needs. Computers are just part of Teen Services at Austin Public Library. Teens are also encouraged to read and discover library resources, get to know library staff, and find a place for themselves within the library. Programs, classes, and events encourage creativity, leadership, experimentation, confidence, teamwork, and pride.
Raise a Reader
Raise a Reader emphasizes the invaluable assistance the public library can provide in promoting early literacy and good reading habits at a young age. Through St. David’s hospital and local birthing centers, Raise a Reader packets are distributed to new parents. The packets contain a board book, the baby’s first library card and other library information, and brochures with reading tips and early literacy information.
Reading Groups and Discussion Series
The Foundation sponsors and coordinates reading groups and discussion series at various branch libraries throughout the year. Sign up for email to receive information about any upcoming series.
Youth Writing Workshops
The Foundation sponsors youth writing workshops throughout the year. In addition to the New Fiction Confab Youth Writing Workshops, the Foundation also sponsored two Comic Book Writing Workshops given by Jason Neulander, author of The Intergalactic Nemesis. Sign up for email to be notified of upcoming writing workshops.
Advocacy and Awareness
The Foundation serves as a grassroots advocate for the Austin Public Library. Through our website and email communications we keep our constituency informed of issues and events that affect the Austin Public Library.
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