IMLS Grant to Fund New Scholastic Esports Program at Pottsboro, TX, Library

Media Contacts:

Claire LaBeaux
claire@prclaire.com
925-337-0244

Dianne Connery
library@cityofpottsboro.com
903-786-8274

IMLS Grant to Fund New Scholastic Esports Program at Pottsboro, TX, Library

NASEF’s Structured Competitive Video Game Program Recognized for Infusing Learning into Popular Activity

(Pottsboro, TX – August 16, 2019) – The Public Library in Pottsboro, Texas, has just been awarded a grant of $49,657 to implement an exciting new program that blends esports and education, enabling local teens to learn important career and life skills while pursuing a favorite activity: video gaming.

The Library will form an esports club through the North America Scholastic Esports Federation, NASEF. Local students will compete in local and national esports tournaments, access clinics and workshops about game skills and career options within the esports ecosystem, and enter Beyond the Game challenges based on analytics and creativity.

“Last year through funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Young Adult Library Services Association, as a part of their Future Ready with the Library project, selected 24 libraries from across the nation and provided training and support for those libraries to discover community needs and develop a program to help middle schoolers be successful in life and career. After considering the options, we realized that esports offers the best opportunity,” said Dianne Connery, Director, Pottsboro Area Library.  

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to get started building a NASEF club and introducing our local kids to this positive developmental environment,” Connery continued. “Libraries are important centers of learning that can bring relevant technology and programs to their communities. I’m confident that this IMLS grant and the esports community we build will help our local kids develop technology, STEM, and life skills. This will help us equip them to leave high school with applicable knowledge, putting them on a level playing field with students from big cities with more options.”

The grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will benefit all of Pottsboro. The budget will pay for:

  • Much faster Internet access for all patrons (increasing from 18 Mbps to 500 Mbps!)
  • Esports program manager to oversee student clubs and teams
  • 10 gaming PCs
  • Monthly technology classes to be held at the library
  • Opportunities to share best practices with other libraries interested in implementing esports programs, including a presentation at the upcoming Public Library Association conference in February

The Pottsboro Library is working on the new esports program with the local high school and Austin College and using NASEF resources. The high schoolers will hold weekly scrimmages and strategy sessions with mentoring from Austin College.

“Video games are wildly popular with our youth, and NASEF gives them learning opportunities through their play while introducing them to relevant career options. We’re thrilled with IMLS’ recognition of the value of this connected play and learning through this financial support,” said Gerald Solomon, Executive Director of the Samueli Foundation and Founder of NASEF. “We welcome libraries and community organizations from across North America to join NASEF and utilize our learning opportunities and tournaments.”

Pottsboro residents and local media are invited to the Library for an Esports Program Kick-Off and Live Streaming Event:

  • Saturday, September 14, 2019, 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Pottsboro Area Library, 104 N Main, Pottsboro, TX 75076
  • Introduction to esports and the esports career ecosystem
  • Community celebration and input
  • Gaming and Twitch viewing

“As centers of learning and catalysts of community change, libraries and museums connect people with programs, services, collections, information, and new ideas in the arts, sciences, and humanities. They serve as vital spaces where people can connect with each other,” said IMLS Director Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew. “IMLS is proud to support their work through our grant making as they inform and inspire all in their communities.”

About IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the North America Scholastic Esports Federation

The North America Scholastic Esports Federation is working to ensure that ALL students possess the knowledge and skills needed to be society’s game changers: educated, productive, and empathetic individuals. NASEF is on a mission to provide free opportunities for ALL students to use esports as a platform to acquire critical communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills needed to thrive in work and in life. The Federation’s core values are intertwined through all aspects of education and play: learning, opportunity, community, diversity, and respect.

Learn more at www.esportsfed.org. Members of the press can find videos, infographics, and leadership profiles in the online press room. Join online conversations on Twitter @NASEFedu, on Facebook and Instagram, and see matches streamed live on our Twitch channel.

Note to editors: Access a press kit with library and student photos here