November 16, 2017

Nine Public Library Innovation Grants Announced by ICMA

  • Nine innovative projects
  • Training for a call center
  • Program for offenders

ICMA, the professional and educational organization for municipal managers, has awarded $500,000 in grants to nine cities, towns, and counties for new library projects, funded through ICMA’s partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The projects were culled from 515 applications from jurisdictions in 47 states. “The proposals were truly impressive in quality and scope, proving that the nation’s public libraries have their fingers on the pulse of the critical issues facing our communities today, and stand ready to meet those challenges,” said Cheryl Hilvert, city manager, Montgomery, OH, and member of the judging panel.

A range of projects

The grants help fund several innovative projects. In Buena Vista, VA, a computer training and call center will serve any resident of the Rockbridge Regional Library service area, and the city will market the call center to corporations. The Dallas Public Library will expand its Every Child Ready to Read @ Dallas parenting program, training and recruiting city employee volunteers who work with children as trainers themselves. The Fairfax County Library, VA, will sponsor readings and group discussion as an alternative to formal court action for county offenders

In Georgetown County, SC, the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo has spurred an 18-month collaboration between the public library and the emergency management department, involving public lectures, video-game simulations, Web 2.0 communication techniques, oral-history video interviews, and digital storytelling to recall history and heighten awareness. In Santa Ana, CA, a bilingual program for at-risk teens involves preparatory workshops for college entrance, job application and research, as well as classes in graphic design, math, and English.

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