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Bloomington-Normal libraries awarded $76K in pandemic grants

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BLOOMINGTON — Bloomington and Normal public libraries and Milner Library at Illinois State University were awarded grants as part of state pandemic relief spending.

Secretary of State Jesse White announced Thursday that $11,248 has been allocated for Bloomington Public Library, $47,675 for Normal Public Library and $17,816 for ISU.

White, who also serves as state librarian, said throughout the pandemic, libraries have had to "retool their services" to meet community needs, and this funding is aimed at helping them expand access to patrons.

“I applaud the library community in Illinois for their hard work as they continue to provide essential services during this challenging time," he said.

Nearly $6 million was awarded to libraries for needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including “modifying services, transforming spaces and developing resources for their local recovering workforce,” White said.

The grants were funded through the federal American Rescue Plan Act and Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and state technology funds were also used to “maximize statewide impact,” White said in the announcement.

Grants were awarded from three categories. Thirty libraries received $730,730 in the “Bouncing Back from the Pandemic” category, with the focus on developing resources for the local workforce. The “Expanding Digital Inclusion” category accounted for 47 libraries receiving $809,409.

The largest category by awardees and funds was the “On the Road to Recovery: Transforming Library Spaces,” for libraries that prioritize health and safety and restoration of the library’s ability to operate and offer a safe library space while preventing the spread of COVID. In this category, 134 libraries received a total of $4,200,211.

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In surrounding communities, the following libraries also received grant monies:

  • $13,916 to Vespasian Warner Public Library District in Clinton;
  • $5,675 to Danvers Township Library;
  • $12,437 to Eureka Public Library District;
  • $11,346 to Moyer District Library in Gibson City;
  • $19,000 to LaSalle Public Library;
  • $13,792 to Lincoln Christian University.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has said he would not seek reelection in 2022.

Contact Kelsey Watznauer at (309) 820-3254. Follow her on Twitter: @kwatznauer.


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