UMT Volunteers at the Houston Public Library

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Earlier this spring, UMT’s South Regional team partnered with the Houston Public Library (HPL) in support of their Open Mic Comedy Night event.

HPL is a non-profit organization that provides the community with educational, recreational, and cultural programs and services that are free for all residents in the state of Texas. The system encompasses 44 public service units, including 31 neighborhood libraries, four regional libraries, three Special Collection libraries, four Express libraries, the HPL Mobile Express, and a satellite library located at the Children’s Museum of Houston. HPL’s flagship facility, the Central Library in Downtown Houston, anchors all these service points. With over seven million in-person and online visitors annually, HPL depends on the support of volunteers to meet their growing demand.

On the day of the activity, the UMT team of volunteers including myself arrived at the Central Library and proceeded to set up the area for Comedy Night, moving furniture and assembling the stage. The event coordinator, a member of HPL’s Programming Division, also acted as the official emcee and opened the evening by inviting the audience to take a chance on their own abilities as amateur comedians and step up onstage – with an emphasis on clean, family-friendly comedy. After a group of aspiring children, teenagers, and adults performed their individual versions of stand-up, a team of professional improv comedians developed a set of skits with the help of several audience members, including those some of my colleagues. When their time was up and Comedy Night concluded, we picked everything up and left the space as it was before. Throughout the event, we also welcomed, directed, and served refreshments to library visitors. Another group from UMT also got the opportunity to help by organizing hundreds of books in the library’s archives. At the end of the evening, to thank the volunteers for their efforts, the HPL hostess provided the UMT team with a private tour of HPL’s historic Julia Ideson Building, a landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places that served the City of Houston as its central library for 50 years, from 1926 until 1976.

We definitely look forward to discovering more of what Houston has to offer as the recently inaugurated UMT office here brings together regional team members for work, collaboration, and community service!