Whitewater Library Receives Community Grants

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The Irvin L Young Memorial Library, Whitewater’s public library, received three grants that it requested to help the community and provide better opportunities. The grants are NASA at my Library, a library that transforms communities Grant from the American Library Association, a recovery grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council they applied for.

The grants have a purpose towards the initiatives of the library and how they plan to use these grants for the community. Grants for Libraries Transforming Communities focus more on helping and understanding community needs.

“The first grant was from the American Library Association in partnership with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries and it was a library transformation community grant to organize a community conversation,” said Makerspace & Programming Librarian, Torrie Thomas. “We chose to focus on the college kids and we actually had a chat with them on Wednesday the 13th. We hosted him at the college so we could kind of meet the kids where they were. And the goal behind organizing this conversation was just to talk to them about what’s important to them. What are some of their needs? What are the other challenges at the moment? What are they interested in? And finally, what do they want to do at the library? What kinds of things might the library have for events? Could we host something that might be of interest to this age group? “

The NASA at my The American Library Association Library Grant has helped the community with curriculum, science, and learning for better opportunities.

“[email protected] My library, this grant is from the Space Science Institute, the American Library Association, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, and the Center for Educational Development. We have 4 sources out there for this grant and this one is to provide library staff with resources and training to host NASA based programs. Thanks to this grant, we will host 3 programs over the next year. The first will focus on the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled for December 18th. At the beginning of December, we will organize a program around the launch when the first images come back from this telescope, ”said Thomas.

There are a few good things coming out of the NASA grant that also affect the community in a positive way, like providing more opportunities for STEM field education.

“NASA [grant] in particular, the reason we decided to apply for this one was that the people who were selecting the grant recipients really wanted to focus on the communities that had a large population that is generally under-represented in STEM education. or the STEM professions for Whitewater, the next Hispanic Latin community that is under-represented in education and the STEM professions, ”Thomas said of why they chose this grant to apply.

There is a grant that gives the library funding that goes a long way in making opportunities and resources available to the community, which they plan to do in the future.

“We received a recovery grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021,” said library director Stacy Lunsford. “Funding for the pandemic is really tight on the severity of the economy over the past 2 years. In Wisconsin, some of our funding is based on usage by people who live in rural areas and the larger the usage, the more funding you get. We didn’t have a lot of use last year, we get some of our funding every year from our friends in the library group who sell books, fundraise. They couldn’t do any of this last year. We were running out of money for programs and events. Normally we have a budget of around $ 12,000 and we get maybe half or a little more from friends in the library. We weren’t going to get it, so we applied for the clawback grant because it was designed to help fill in the gaps and fund things the library lost.

These grants give a chance to transform the community, help with educational opportunities and fund library operations. They hope to make a difference by bringing the community together and working with them to improve the library experience.

Makerspace & Programming librarian Torrie Thomas discusses the library with college students in Whitewater.
Credit the guy who took this “Tom Ganser”
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