State Library Board Awards $217,790 in Ohio LSTA Competitive Grants
The State Library of Ohio Board awarded $217,790 in LSTA Competitive Grants to one university, one school, and six public libraries. Federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding for the grants awarded at their December meeting is from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).
Ashland University Archer Library, Kingsville Public Library, and Van Wert Middle School were awarded Ohio LSTA STEM/STEAM Grants. The purpose of the STEM or STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) grant is to provide for innovative and adaptable projects which will include creative, educational, programmatic and/or instructional elements designed to increase skills and knowledge for student success.
Garnet A. Wilson Public Library of Pike County, North Canton Public Library, Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, and Selover Public Library were awarded Ohio LSTA Outreach and Partnership Grants. The purpose of the Outreach and Partnership Grant is to assist libraries in providing new and innovative ways of providing services to users and potential users and in reaching individuals at a range of locations and through a variety of methods.
MidPointe Library System was awarded an Ohio LSTA Literacy Grant. The purpose of Literacy grants is to support the library’s role in the learning experience where literacy is defined as the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms and tools, and it encompasses early literacy, digital literacy, functional literacy, and others.
“Ohio libraries once again demonstrated their excellence and ingenuity in this year’s return of the LSTA Competitive Grant Program,” expressed State Librarian Wendy Knapp. “While it is disappointing that we cannot fund every grant, the eight libraries that will receive grants this year are a representation of the library landscape across the state, coming from different regions and types of libraries. The common thread of the role the library plays for individuals wanting to grow their knowledge and/or skills will underpin each of the programs over the next eight months.”
The awarded grants include:
Ashland University was awarded $30,000 in federal funds to develop virtual, mixed, and hybrid reality-based teaching activities in conjunction with a new virtual reality (VR) conference room. Virtual reality tools are already being integrated effectively into many higher education settings and institutions, including Ashland University. Through this initiative, Ashland University will provide additional support for students and establish a base of information literacy not only for retention and successful completion of their university programs, but also for lifelong learning through inculcation of VR-based collaborative and participatory methods of acquiring knowledge.
Garnet A. Wilson Public Library of Pike County was awarded $43,260.00 in federal funds to purchase and equip a cargo van to provide library services outside their physical location, offering a suite of services to those residents who might not otherwise be served. The library’s proposal includes offering internet & Wi-Fi access, wireless printing, material delivery, and job search assistance through scheduled “pop up library” stops. Those expected to see particular benefit from this initiative include persons in more rural areas with limited transportation options, Recovery Council and nursing home residents, the homebound, and the growing Amish population in Pike County.
Kingsville Public Library was awarded $12,767 in federal funds to implement Expedition Club, an initiative designed to mitigate learning losses and strengthen social-emotional skills for children in grades K-5. The Expedition Club project recognizes how young learners have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing economic crisis. Kingsville’s Expedition Club will combine reading, writing, and math supports with hands-on STEM programming in a way that enhances academic skills while offering the chance to socialize outside of school hours.
MidPointe Library System was awarded $50,000 in federal funds to launch the “Born to Read” project. This initiative targets families of newborns to promote early literacy at home by mailing a box of early literacy supplies and materials to registrants. These boxes will highlight the importance of library programming and services and include books, educational tips, information about library programs and services, and manipulatives to enhance their new child’s early literacy experience. MidPointe Library System sees this project as a way to support the library’s mission of “enriching our community through access and experiences,” while also establishing an early and meaningful connection with the library.
North Canton Public Library was awarded $8,331in federal funds to expand on their successful selection of programs offered to older adults in their service area. Building on strong partnership between the City of North Canton and using the city’s offsite North Canton Civic Center, this program works to mitigate the isolation experienced by older adults through a series of engaging and informative classes, lectures, demonstrations, and activities. Additionally, a collection of large-print materials will be made available for check-out.
The Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (PLYMC) was awarded $50,000 in federal funds to create a dedicated sensory space and offer increased programming and library services to the special needs community. The proposed room will include approachable play materials that users can see, touch, and explore, regulating their bodies through calming sensory experiences. This space can also be used for programming and be made available by appointment for family or institutional use. If available, it may also be used by library patrons who need a sensory break while using the library. PLYMC notes that this initiative will help them fulfill their mission to welcome and serve all members of community with empathy, respect, and dignity.
Selover Public Library was awarded $11,207 in federal funds to expand their outreach efforts into the villages of Marengo and Sparta. Selover Library serves the Highland School District, but their single physical location is not central to the district. To expand library services and reach these underserved populations, Selover Library will procure the equipment and supplies necessary to provide meaningful outreach services and programs to their entire service area. Additionally, off-site drop boxes in Marengo and Sparta will be deployed, allowing for patrons in those communities to return their library books easily and conveniently.
Van Wert Middle School was awarded $12,225 in federal funds to launch the program Concept to Creation. This program teaches entrepreneurial skills and financial literacy while exposing students to the technologies available in the library’s makerspace. Budgeting, product design, communication, and problem-solving are skills students will need to master as they launch and promote a product line of their own design.