Jesse White awards nearly $6 million to libraries focused on pandemic recovery


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ILLINOIS (WCIA) – Illinois Secretary of State and Librarian of State Jesse White has awarded nearly $6 million to libraries focused on direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic by modifying services, transforming spaces and developing resources for their recovering local workforce.

“During the ongoing pandemic, libraries have had to reorganize their services to meet community needs and I am honored to be able to provide funding to enable these libraries to expand access for their patrons,” White said. “I applaud the Illinois library community for their hard work as they continue to provide essential services during this difficult time.”

According to officials, a total of $5,740,350 has funded 211 university, school, special and public libraries, all of which have received grants ranging from $5,000 to more than $1 million. A combination of funding sources provided through the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA), both of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and technology funds of the state were used to maximize statewide impact.

Grants were awarded in three categories:

Rebounding from the Pandemic—Developing Resources for the Local Workforce: Projects focus on providing essential resources so job seekers can access employment services and skills training necessary to prepare for the job. 30 libraries received $730,730.

Expanding Digital Inclusion – Transforming Library Services: Projects focus on restoring services and improving digital inclusion efforts focused on circulating internet hotspots, laptops and other devices that support pandemic recovery. 47 libraries received $809,409.

On the Road to Recovery: Transforming Library Spaces: Projects focus on academic, public, school and special libraries that prioritize health and safety while focusing on restoring capacity library to operate and provide clean and safe library spaces while preventing the spread of COVID -19. 134 libraries received a total of $4,200,211.

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