Austin Public Library Named as a Top 10 Innovator by Urban Libraries Council

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Austin Public Library Named as a Top 10 Innovator by Urban Libraries Council

The Urban Libraries Council announced Austin Public Library as one of 10 Top Innovators during the 2019 Innovations Celebration held on October 17 in Salt Lake City. The annual Innovations award program recognizes leading practices from ULC’s member library systems across the U.S. and Canada.

A panel of expert judges selected Austin Public Library’s Welding Class from 260 submissions in 10 categories that showcase out-of-the box thinking and creative applications of library resources. Austin Public Library won in the category of Education – Adults. Award winners were recognized for their level of creativity, ability for other libraries to adapt their work and the outcomes achieved.

“This year’s winners put forth bold ideas that will fundamentally bring about positive change,” said Urban Libraries Council President and CEO Susan Benton. “For this year’s Innovations Initiative, we received our most diverse and exceptional submissions to date. We celebrate Austin Public Library for presenting a groundbreaking initiative that is sure to transform their community and inspire libraries across North America.”

Austin Public Library partnered with Austin Community College (ACC) to bring vocational educational opportunities to one of its most underserved communities by offering ACC’s Welding Class that allows students to receive a Welding Certification. A generator-powered mobile education pod was brought on site to the Southeast Branch Library. Due to its mobility the classroom can be brought to students rather than the other way around. Having the classroom in one’s neighborhood made it easier to arrange for child care since the ‘college’ may be only blocks away from home.

“This program was able to remove some common barriers to obtaining workforce training and to provide these individuals with skills that will lead to jobs and a better life,” said Roosevelt Weeks, Director of Austin Public Library. All 2019 ULC Innovations entries can be viewed at

In photo, from left to right: Roosevelt Weeks, Director, Austin Public Library; Sean Godfrey, Regional Branch Operations Manager, Austin Public Library; and Anne Bramblett, Assistant Director of Public Services, Austin Public Library.

About the Austin Public Library
The Austin Public Library provides knowledge, technology and inspiration to the Austin community. The Library is a hub of books and education, a meeting place of minds and an incubator of ideas. For more information, visit

About Urban Libraries Council
The Urban Libraries Council is an innovation and impact tank of North America’s leading public library systems. ULC drives cutting-edge research and strategic partnerships to elevate the power of libraries as essential, transformative institutions for the 21st-century. More than 150 urban member libraries in the U.S. and Canada rely on ULC to identify significant challenges facing today’s communities and provide new tools and techniques to help libraries achieve stronger outcomes in education, digital inclusion, workforce and economic development, and race and social equity.