A Houston public library that was already closed for renovations when it was damaged by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 will reopen next year as the city’s first full TECHLink center.
TECHLink is a digital creative space that offers access to numerous state-of-the-art technologies.
A $1.6 million gift for the Amanda E. Dixon Neighborhood Library means the site will have the latest interactive technology, including a professional music and video-recording studio, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The reconstructed library will help expand the minds and imagination of the next generation of Houstonians, Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a written statement.
The new center is scheduled to open by mid-2020.
Huey German-Wilson, president of the Trinity Houston Gardens Super Neighborhood, said residents had been asking for the building to be repaired for years.
“That was my childhood library,” she said. “It means a lot to us.”
The building was shut down for overhauls just weeks before Harvey slammed into Houston, leaving much of the city underwater and causing more damage to the library’s roof and structure. The 3,270-square-foot (300-square-meter) library building needed a complete renovation.
But with a waiting list of other library branches that needed repairs, it was uncertain how fast the Dixon branch would get consideration, said Nicole Robinson, deputy director of the Houston Public Library system.
This year, that changed when Aramco Services Co. contributed the funds needed to transform the Dixon branch into a new technology center.
The library system currently provides interactive technology services at its Scenic Woods Regional Library. Scenic Woods combines meeting areas with virtual-reality gear, a 3D printer, a laser cutter, an embroidery station, a video studio complete with a green screen for special effects, and a full professional recording studio including instruments. All services are free
At the Scenic Woods branch, the technology services have been well-received with 600 registered and active users since launching last May, said Roland Lemonius, TECHLink manager.
But, the Dixon TECHLink Center will exclusively feature technology services, with physical books accessible in a book vending machine.
Beyond the new center, upkeeps and revamps at other library branches affected by Harvey are progressing on schedule, city officials said.