austin-central-library-8[1]For our literature-inspired summer series, narratives, our unique three-concert event taking place the evenings of June 25, July 9, and July 30 at the Blanton Museum Auditorium we’ve teamed with Austin Public Library Friends Foundation as a presentation partner. We asked Library Foundation Executive Director Tim Staley to share some thoughts about what’s in store for Austinites.

Like in so many other industries and institutions, technology has transformed the public library, vastly expanding its role in communities. Traditional uses of the library such as checking out books and children’s story time, for example, are still very popular, but people have come to expect so much more from their library, including access to computers, the internet, online databases, various software and so many other emerging technologies. It’s very exciting to be a part of this transformation.

Whether it be offering nonprofit organizations financial support, professional expertise or other forms of in-kind support, there is a significant role for corporations and institutions like the Library Foundation to play in the life of the community beyond providing jobs. Google, for example, has generously provided the Austin Public Library with Google Chat. Voila! Every Austinite now has access to video-conferencing technology – all they have to do is visit their library.

In addition to providing the Austin Public Library with financial support, the Library Foundation has a handful of popular and dynamic programs of its own. Most of which are in close partnership with the library and enhance the reading experience, including the Mayor’s Book Club and the New Fiction Confab. Our Badgerdog program offers a creative writing summer camp and other writing workshops year round at schools, community centers and of course the Austin Public Library.

Austin’s new central library, due to open in November of this year, will redefine the library experience for the 21st century. Designed by Lake Flato Architects and Shepley Bulfinch, it will be architecturally striking and will provide the entire community access to information and knowledge through cutting edge technology, extensive print and digital collections, and dynamic and enriching programming.  Some of the new library’s features will include a 350 seat event center, an art gallery, cooking demonstration area and a rooftop garden with a beautiful view of Lady Bird Lake which would be quite a nice spot to listen to a classical guitar performance.