New Houston Public Library Mobile Express van brings high-end tech, special courses to underserved areas

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HOUSTON — It's hard for most to imagine a life without computer or internet access, but even in a bustling major city like Houston, that's the reality for some struggling parents and children.

Houston Public Library Foundation has unveiled an all new Mobile Express, a custom-built technology lab and library on wheels. The vehicle was presented  during a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday outside the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza, and staff are ready and eager to bring its services to those in need.

The current Mobile Express has been in operation for over ten years and brings access to technology and programs to neighborhoods. After Hurricane Harvey, the Houston Public Library needed to expand services to a growing waiting list of neighborhoods in need.

"They're still recovery, and people need resources to recover," Executive Director Sally Swanson said. "Once that's completed, it'll then serve a much longer mission of bringing services to neighborhoods, community centers, schools, places where you can really enrich someone's life and change their life."

The Brown Foundation, Inc., John P. McGovern Foundation, and The Powell Foundation responded with leadership donations toward the budgeted $325,000 needed to purchase a custom-built vehicle outfitted with advanced programmatic features.

Thanks to corporate partner, Crown Castle, the new Mobile Express offers the latest technology including three touchscreen monitors, one desktop tower, 12 student laptops in a training room and eight tech lab workstations.

"We have over 24 stations that our users can come on board and take advantage of with a combination of MacBooks and iPads," Division Manager for Community Engagement Mytesha Tates said. "We also offer 3D-printing services. We have over 51 courses including LEGO robotics."

If your community would like a Mobile Express event hosted in your neighborhood, click here for more information.

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