$100K Google Grants Give High-Tech Boost to Two Ellis County Libraries

Libraries have always been engines of growth, enabling self-improvement through free access to information and resources. Now, thanks to Google, libraries in Midlothian and Red Oak are getting high-tech makeovers.

Libraries in Midlothian and Red Oak are getting a high-tech makeover thanks to new grants from Google. The tech giant, which has a data center in Midlothian and plans a new data center campus in Red Oak, awarded $100,000 to each city’s library system.

The funds will supercharge both libraries with cutting-edge technology and infrastructure upgrades. Midlothian will construct an entirely new standalone library. Red Oak will create a “makerspace” equipped with 3D printers, robotics, and more.

The cities said the grants will bolster infrastructure and make digital literacy opportunities more accessible to students and residents throughout Ellis County.

“The new public library will be a place of opportunity. Particularly for students in Midlothian, this donation from Google will help foster curiosity in learning,” Midlothian Mayor Justin Coffman said in a statement. “In addition to offering access to books, the new facility offers access to creative spaces and technology, inspiring exploration and experimentation.”

The city of Midlothian said the new stand-alone library will better meet the needs of the growing community. Along with improving access to information and learning resources, the new facility, which is expected to be completed in late 2024, will be fully furnished and equipped with the latest technology.

The city said its current public library, which is also Midlothian High School’s library, will remain operational, and serve as an additional public library for the nearly 40,000 residents in Midlothian.

A rendering of Midlothian’s new standalone library. [Courtesy photo]

Creating a high-tech makerspace

Red Oak Mayor Mark Stanfill hailed the Google investment as a way to “empower the next generation of tech leaders in Texas.”

The Red Oak makerspace will allow people to get hands-on experience with technologies that power industries from aerospace to data centers, opening up career possibilities in STEM fields, he said.

“The funds will support a new makerspace that will allow people in our community to explore technology that could lead to careers in anything from data centers to aerospace,” Stanfill added. “Making these resources available and accessible to the public will propel the imaginations of our residents to new heights.”

The current Red Oak library (pictured here) is getting a new makerspace with 3D printers and more, thanks to a Google grant. [Courtesy photo]

21st century reboot

Kate Franko, regional head of Data Center Public Affairs for Google, says the tech giant is honored to play a part in the library transformations. 

“Libraries are information and learning hubs that play an essential role in every community. They foster growth and development for residents of all ages,” Franko said in a statement.

Quincy Preston contributed to this report.

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