University of Texas at Arlington

Texas Library Association 2017 Conference Report

Thinking Beyond the Stacks

Texas Library Association 2017 Conference Report

TxLA 2017 Conference Logo

Although I had to cancel my presentation on the State of Make: Texas, which was to be an overview of results from our 2016 makerspace survey, I still had the pleasure of co-presenting with my department head, Gretchen Trkay and our FabLab director, Katie Musick Peery, on a panel about integrating maker literacies into experiential learning assignments. We presented the background of the Maker Literacies initiative, current work in progress, and future goals.

UT Arlington Libraries was well represented at this year's TxLA conference. In addition to our panel, Katie also served on second panel about best methods for approaching new technology adoption in library creative/maker spaces. Heather Scalf presented on using library usage data to correlate student success and library usage. Kelly Visnak was on a panel discussion on the topic of Open Educational Resources (OERs) and the library's role in creating, adoption and dissemination of OERs. Andy Herzog presented on SpringShare LibGuides. C.D. Walter presented on Library Wayfinding. Kiriakis Newman did a poster presentation. The Library's Dean, Rebecca Bichel, spoke on a panel about trends in the profession, the future, and leadership. Finally, UTA's own Police Chief, Kim A Lemaux, presented on a panel about Campus Carry.

UTA FabLab had a block of five demonstration tables in the Innovation Lab in the exhibits hall. At two of the tables we provided mini screen printing, vinyl cut iron-ons, and other types of bling for conference goers to jazz up their badges. Heather set up a sewing and craft table for making dog beds to be donated to the San Antonio Animal Shelter. We  had knitted and crocheted scarves on display to represent the efforts UTA Libraries staff's Creative Circle's winter community project. Leslie Wagner engaged conference-goers in lots of discussion on existing groups and on forming groups at K-12 and public libraries. Finally, there was a table with a 3D printer and displays of FabLab-created objects and another with information on our Experiential Learning Department and how to create pop-up programming in academic libraries. The tables were staffed in rotations by the above mentioned library staff (everyone who presented also had table duty!) along with FabLab technician Morgan Chivers.


Katie Musick Peery and Andy Herzog helping conference goers bling their badges
Katie Musick Peery and Andy Herzog helping conference goers bling their badges


My blinged badge
My blinged badge


Heather sewing dog beds
Heather Scalf sewing dog beds


Leslie Wagner knitting (or crocheting?) winter scarves
Leslie Wagner provided a quick make-and-take opportunity for TLA attendees - crocheting a bookworm bookmarker. Many plan to use the bookworm bookmarker as a fun starter project for their own groups.


I apologize that I was unable to get my State of Make: Texas presentation together in time for the conference. That turned out to be a much larger project than I had ever expected. Over the coming months I will be exploring ways to disseminate that data, with the possibility of presenting on it at future events and conferences.

Thanks Aaron Graves for the following Tweet. I couldn't find any other photos or commentary about our Maker Literacies panel, even though it was fairly well attended.

written by Martin Wallace,

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