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Preserve the Past and Remember the Glory: The History of the Prairie View Interscholastic League (PVIL)
The African American History Research Center at the Gregory School

1300 Victor Street, 77019 | 832-393-1440
July 1, 2023 – December 30, 2023

Photo from exhibit of Washington High School track team and coaches


The University Interscholastic League (UIL) was established by the University of Texas in 1910 to make rules and settle disputes for academic and athletic competitions at white high schools in Texas. Recognizing a need for a separate organization for Black high school students, the Texas Interscholastic League of Colored Schools (TILCS) was created in 1920 by the Colored Teachers State Association of Texas and the Negro School Division of the State Department of Education. The TILCS changed its name in 1923 to the Prairie View Interscholastic League (PVIL) when it came under the control of Prairie View A&M College. 


Modeling itself after the UIL, the PVIL held its own competitions for Black high school students in athletics, typing, declamation, music, and extemporaneous speaking. Starting with 40 schools, the PVIL quickly grew to include 300 schools by 1927 and enrolled 500 schools at its peak. PVIL participants include Houston’s Barbara Jordan (Phillis Wheatley High School), the first African American U.S. Congresswoman from the Southern United States. In 1965, the UIL opened membership to all public schools and the PVIL was disbanded at the end of the 1969-70 school year.


This exhibition features documents, photographs, and vintage uniforms and trophies from the Special Collections & Archives Department (SCAD) of the John B. Coleman Library at Prairie View A&M University and the Prairie View Interscholastic League Coaches Association.


This exhibit is free and open to the public. Exhibit dates are subject to change.

The Houston Public Library (HPL) received $75,000 in funding from The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) under its Special Projects Grant program. HPL will use the funds to expand its Career Online High School (COHS) program by providing tuition, computers and internet access to 30 new program participants in FY23. COHS is a SACS-accredited high school completion program offered in partnership with Smart Horizons and Workforce Solutions. The program helps individuals 21 and older who have completed a minimum of eighth grade earn a high school diploma and prepare for the workforce. 

"Students who want to complete their high school diploma shouldn't have to deal with the burden of extra costs. These funds will allow more students to achieve this milestone and gain other opportunities," said HPL Community Engagement Division Manager Mercedes Clarke.  

Prospective COHS students can access the online application at The deadline to apply for scholarship money is December 30, 2022. For further information, prospective students may contact HPL's cafécollege at 832-393-1737.

This project is one of 43 made possible this year by a grant awarded to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act. “Communities in every corner of Texas will benefit from the resources that have been made available through this list of forward-thinking grant proposals.” said TSLAC Director and Librarian Mark Smith. The Special Projects Grant supports programs seeking to expand library services to include all members of a library’s community, including those populations with special needs. “We are grateful to the IMLS and the federal government for providing this assistance to libraries across Texas as they support their communities in these challenging times,” said Smith.  

Additional TSLAC support to the Houston Public Library includes $10,000 from the Texas Reads Grant allocated to HPL’s Summer Reading Program and $25,000 from the TexTreasures Grant designated for a digitization project of the African American History Research Center. These projects are made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (Grant #LS-252486-OLS-22) to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act. (2023) 


Formed in 1909, TSLAC is committed to giving Texans access to information and programs to improve their lives and communities. TSLAC provides historical and genealogical search assistance, federal and state government documents, electronic research, and library services to all Texans, including those who are unable to read standard print material because of physical or reading disabilities. For more information, visit

HOUSTON (Sept. 8, 2022) – More than 350 third-grade students representing 391 schools from 11 school districts across the Houston area (Aldine ISD, Alief ISD, Alvin ISD, Channelview ISD, Cleveland ISD, Crosby ISD, Cy-Fair ISD, Houston ISD, Pasadena ISD, Spring ISD, Stafford MSD) celebrated the launch of the Read to the Final Four program during a launch ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 8 at the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza at the Houston Public Library. The annual literacy initiative is led by the 2023 NCAA® Men’s Final Four and Houston Local Organizing Committee (HLOC).

To engage Houston area youth and leave a lasting, positive impact on students, the NCAA and HLOC teamed up to promote and inspire reading growth for third graders through a year-long, citywide reading initiative. The program centers around a tournament-style reading competition for thousands of Houston third graders.

The Read to the Final Four's purpose is to promote and inspire reading for third graders through a fun and engaging bracket-style competition. Schools compete as third-grade teams and earn points based on a formula that calculates the average minutes read per school. Top schools in each district advance throughout the rounds winning prizes and having fun along the way.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to entice young minds to read through Read to the Final Four, an innovative, fun program. The last time the Men’s Final Four was in Houston, in 2016, we had one school district participate. The growth of the program speaks to our educators’ passion for literacy and the belief in its ability to positively impact the future of our city’s youth,” said Dorita Hatchett, Senior Director of Community Relations at the Houston Local Organizing Committee.

About the 2023 NCAA Men’s Final Four®

Houston will host the 2023 Men’s Final Four® from March 31 through April 3, 2023. Houston Baptist University, Rice University, Texas Southern University and the University of Houston will make history as the first quartet of institutions to host the Final Four. Games will be played on April 1 and April 3 at NRG Stadium. The city of Houston is hosting the event for the fourth time, having previously crowned national champions in 1971, 2011 and 2016. For more information, visit

MEDIA CONTACTS: Nick Scurfield,, 832-713-2600 Shelby Janik,, 281-705-574

Lisa Carrico

Family Place Libraries is a model for both physical space and family engagement programming with a focus on early learning, early literacy and parent and caregiver education. The goal of the Family Place Play Series (FPPS) is to build a foundation for children's learning in the critical first years of life, with the parent as the child’s first teacher. Through the program, parents become equipped with the tools to develop their child’s social, emotional and cognitive skills so when their child enters school, the child is both ready and able to learn. Each week for 5 weeks, resource professionals are available at sessions to answer any questions families may have about:

  • Literacy
  • Speech, Hearing and Language Development
  • Child Development
  • Nutrition
  • Music, Play and Health

One topic is highlighted each week with activities connected to that topic that allows families to engage with each other.

With the generous support of PNC Grow Up Great, the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation and the Barbara Bush Houston Literacy Foundation Ladies Guild, the Central Library, Collier Regional Library and Park Place Regional Library are set to begin offering Family Place Play Series programs, as well as enhancements to the children’s areas of their respective libraries.

Houston Public Library’s McGovern-Stella Link and Young Neighborhood Libraries are also official Family Place Libraries with a family-friendly design that includes a large youth collection, a children’s nook, toys for children and daily activities for children. The space encourages a caregiver to interact with their child through play. To register for the FPPS, visit HPL Events online.


Lisa Carrico

Stars, Mars & Galaxies On the Go with NASA Award

Picture of space and astronaut


We are pleased to announce a grant award of $25,000 from the NASA Community Anchor Award program to support the launch of "Astronomy Dome: Linking Youth to the Universe," a mobile planetarium experience. The initiative aims to increase access to educational and STEM centered programming implemented throughout the greater Houston area by HPL’s Community Engagement Team and Youth Services librarians.

HPL’s Community Engagement Team is always on the move, delivering library services to communities, through its fleet of vehicles equipped with cutting-edge, essential technology. With "Astronomy Dome," specialized NASA programming is now part of this strategic outreach. HPL’s wide-ranging resources and tools utilized by dedicated Neighborhood Library staff serving students and young learners are enhanced by a curriculum that focuses on Mars, galaxies and astrobiology.

NASA’s generous support of this project aligns with HPL’s mission: We Link People to the World. HPL Deputy Director Nicole Robinson expresses gratitude and enthusiasm for the funding that uses libraries as a connector, “to spark an interest in space exploration and scientific careers, as well as inspire youth to aim for the stars.” The mobile planetarium experience is geared toward youth in grades K-12, and efforts to reach the target population extend to HPL Neighborhood Library locations and designated Houston Complete Communities. In addition to the purchase of items, such as telescopes for “Star Party” events, staff have access to training opportunities through the Anchor Award program.

NASA selects a diverse group of projects from museums, science centers, library systems and other informal education organizations across the country as NASA Informal Education Community Anchors. The projects receive Teams Engaging Affiliated Museums and Informal Institutions (TEAM II) Community Anchor Awards. Designation as a community anchor recognizes an institution as a local community resource. Projects bring space exploration to traditionally underserved areas and broaden student participation in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

For more information about the Houston Public Library’s Community Engagement services, visit or call 832-393-1533.

To learn more about the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Teams Engaging Affiliated Museums and Informal Institutions Program, please visit:

Lauren Wilcox

Calyxes and Polyps
Central Library

March 4, 2022 - May 5, 2022

The Houston Public Library Central Gallery presents an exhibition of graphite and mixed media drawings by Colleen Maynard. Between 2019 and 2021, Colleen Maynard studied and documented coral reefs and their biodiversity from the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, located approximately 100 miles off the Galveston, Texas coast. Completed drawings will be exhibited alongside scientist and librarian-selected reading materials. 

Works in the exhibition highlight and celebrate site-specific coral reefs and their biodiversity from the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary.  

The Flower Garden Banks is the only one of fifteen nationally-protected marine sanctuaries located in the Gulf of Mexico. Boasting 56 square miles, it contains 23 species of hard (or “stony”) coral that provide a framework for soft corals, algae, fish, shrimps, crabs, urchins, sea stars, snails, manta ray and sharks, sea turtles and other marine animals. 

Traditionally trained in paleontological and dry-botanical illustration, Colleen Maynard shifted her focus from terra firma to the living ocean for this project. The coral reef loomed as an abstract part-plant, part-animal, part-mineral, and she went to work visually dissecting the coral polyp anatomy and learning how coral grows, photosynthesizes, feeds, reproduces, and protects itself. She feels corals deserve to be studied as resourceful, complex living things that are invaluable natural resources. 

This exhibition is funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.


Field is required.