The Barry-Lawrence Regional Library achieved a major fundraising goal this past week.
Jean Berg, director of the library system, announced that $33,800 in matching funds had been raised, satisfying the requirements of the Gates Foundation grant the library was awarded in 2009.
"Contributions from local banks, businesses and computer users throughout the library district have helped to make this possible," said Berg.
Several area foundations also made contributions to the matching fund, including: Barry-Lawrence United Fund, $5,000; Monett Area Community Foundation, $2,500; Table Rock Lake Community Foundation, $2,500; Aurora Area Community Foundation, $2,000; Mt. Vernon Area Community Foundation, $1,500; Lawrence County Board for Senior Citizens, $1,000; Walmart Foundation, $500; and Pella Rolscreen Foundation, $100.
In addition, Jack Henry and Associates donated $1,296, and Friends of the Library groups in Shell Knob, Aurora, Marionville, Eagle Rock, Mt. Vernon and Pierce City contributed $1,816. Book sales, sponsored by Monett Friends of the Library, added $2,550 to the matching fund total.
Over a two-year period, the library received $59,800 in grant money. Combining the grant amount and the matching funds, the library was able to purchase 28 new public Internet computers for its 10 branches. The grant money also allowed for older computers to be replaced with Windows 7 operating systems and Microsoft Office software to be upgraded.
The new computers were purchased and installed by Software Specialists, Inc., of Monett, who successfully bid on the project.
Grant monies were also used to purchase new printers and furnishings and provide for maintenance and purchase of supplies over a five-year period under guidelines of the Gates Grant.
Early learning stations for younger children were purchased for several of the library branches. Each of these computers were preloaded with 45 developmentally appropriate games and programs for children in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade.
"Area children have loved using the fun and educational units that are easy to navigate by simply touching the computer screen," Berg said.
Branch libraries allow library patrons to use the computers free of charge during regular library hours. Library users with a valid borrower's card may register to use the computers at any of the branches.
"All residents of Barry and Lawrence counties are urged to visit your local branch and use the public Internet access computers," added Berg.
For additional information on the regional library system, visit http://tlc.library.net/bll/.