Carpentries Membership Expands Data Science Training for TDL Members

By Courtney Mumma, Deputy Director, Texas Digital Library

Texas Digital Library’s Carpentries Pilot has been a massive success. Our goal, by providing Carpentries training, was to increase capacity at our libraries to serve the research needs of their campus, and we are greatly exceeding that goal with thanks to our members who have led this initiative at every turn.


We at TDL know that professional development dollars, especially now, are hard to come by and we wanted to use this as an equity-enhancing measure in our member libraries. In the call for applications we asked applicants to identify how they would use the training to increase services on their campus, and we also asked them if they were a member of an under-represented group in their field. 

After awarding the original six “free” seats from the Call for Applications, we started getting questions about whether folks could join for a fee using their professional development dollars. We worked it out, and went from six to a full 18 members who are now certified Carpentries trainers – tripling our goal!Four Carpentries Workshops, organized in large part by the Carpentries, were hosted in the spring by members at Texas State & Texas A&M, with University of Houston and UT Austin offering workshops in summer 2021. These train-the-trainer workshops provided training on core software and data skills for use in research and in advocacy for efficient, effective, and reproducible data and software practices. Some workshops were designed specifically for librarians working in researcher-facing roles. 

The subsequent workshops that the cohort will deliver as instructors post-certification will be targeted for researchers on their respective campuses as a service of their libraries. Some instructors have indicated they’ll offer occasional professional development for colleagues as well.


TDL’s Strategic Plan centers on providing meaningful, valuable, and relevant services and resources for our members. By coordinating meaningful opportunities for professional development, such as offering Carpentries training, our member librarians, archivists, and staff can grow their digital library practice and leadership skills.

Most of the institutions in the Texas Digital Library consortium recognize the value of Carpentries training for their staff but simply cannot afford a Carpentries membership out of their budget. But they can afford some professional development for their staff. So, now that TDL’s Governing Board approved spending for a bronze-level membership with the Carpentries, organizing the membership through TDL expands the ability of every institution in our consortium to reap the benefits and leverage scarce professional development dollars.Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, the Carpentries Pilot success was an entirely member-driven initiative. From the early stages of proposing the idea, to our Governing Board approving ongoing membership in Carpentries, to the organizers being awarded the TDL Service Award, our members lead the way and we at TDL are grateful for their generosity, ingenuity, and leadership. 


Watch the video at

In this video, you hear from a few members of the pilot cohort who benefited from Carpentries train-the-trainer workshops. 

  • Jessica McLean is a Subject Liaison for engineering and science at Texas State University. She noted that the Carpentries Pilot is a great example of how the TDL leverages digital library services to enhance all areas of library service.
  • Allyssa Guzman, Digital Scholarship Librarian with the University of Texas at Austin, shared that her humanities customers in Digital Scholarship are starting to identify the work they do as data science.
  • And David Lowe, Digital Collections Management Librarian at Texas A&M University, furthered Allyssa’s example by showing how he’s leveraging his newly awarded fellowship to enhance text mining scholarship on his campus.

And in this story, Meryl Brodsky, College of Communication Librarian & School of Information Librarian with UT Austin, expresses her gratitude for the opportunity to develop new skills in addition to cultivating new contacts working in other Texas-based institutions. 

TDL sees the cohort itself as one of key benefits of Carpentries Pilot. Having so many people working on the same training together automatically creates a support community to help foster growth and partnerships. Over the next one to three years we at TDL want to work on that cohort model and make sure it can thrive.


This initial year of the Carpentries Pilot was focused mainly on increasing capacity for training and certifying workshop participants as Carpentries Instructors. We at Texas Digital Library would like to see even more of our members get certified over the next couple years, as well as see the number of trainings offered by our cohort increase. We look forward to supporting our members as they plan Carpentries training events for their own campuses and facilitate collaboration with each other. 

Any member of TDL is eligible to get involved with Carpentries. If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at to get started.


Texas Digital Library is a consortium of library and archives professionals that propels the Academy forward by maintaining our past and preparing for the future. Membership in TDL is open to any academic library. Find out more by visiting or email us at

Posted in Data Management, training

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