University of Texas at Arlington

UTA Libraries coordinate efforts to distribute books and blankets to Hurricane Harvey evacuees

Brightly colored pillows and blankets
How to help Hurricane Harvey evacuees

The Texas library family is strong, so when UTA Libraries heard that hundreds of Hurricane Harvey evacuees were coming to Dallas, caring colleagues initiated a library community effort to collect books and make blankets for those in need.

“We want to use our strengths as a library to provide ways for the campus and the DFW community to help our neighbors,” Dean of Libraries Rebecca Bichel said. “By coordinating with other area libraries, we can make a much greater impact.” 

The Libraries’ FabLab will host drop-in learning workshops where the UTA community can make no-sew blankets for pets or people. September workshop times are Tuesdays and Fridays at 1 p.m., and Thursdays at noon. 

“Students are seeing this devastation in an area they may be familiar with, may even be from,” Gretchen Trkay, department head of Experiential Learning & Undergraduate Research, said. “We want to give students the opportunity to contribute.”

Materials and assembly assistance are provided at the FabLab. The Bedford and Kennedale public libraries are also planning blanket-making sessions, and we hope others will follow. Finished blankets will be distributed to local shelters housing evacuees. 

Entertainment options are limited for evacuees, so UTA Libraries is also collecting gently used books and board games for the shelters. All three libraries on campus will have collection boxes.
Public libraries participating in this book and game collection effort include Bedford and Mansfield. Several other local public library systems have donated books and pledged their support. A complete list of book donation boxes and blanket-making opportunities can be seen at Texas Strong: DFW Libraries for Harvey Relief (

Dean of Libraries Rebecca Bichel