Library secures grant funds

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

More than $30,000 through state will support Summer Library Program

Barry-Lawrence Regional Library System has been awarded six Library Services and Technology Act grants, all totaling $30,108.

According to Director Gina Milburn, the library system will receive $14,992 for the 2016 Summer Library Program. The grant funds will be used to provide a summer reading program for all ages, using the theme, "On Your Mark, Get Set...READ!" The reading program will be available in-house, as well as online through the library's webpage, www2.youseemore.com/blrl, from May 30 through July 31.

"The Summer Reading Grant has been very helpful and has enabled us to bring in educational programs to all the branches, so branches don't have to find money or raise money to be able to participate," Milburn said. "We've also been able to hire summer help to do programs. This summer, we got money to pay for extra books to support the theme."

The library also received $11,242 from a Technology Mini Grant to upgrade the library's technology infrastructure with additional servers for each branch location, network switches, wireless access points, laptops and desktop computers.

All seven grants are supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Missouri State Library, a division of the Secretary of State.

In addition, the Missouri State Library awarded the Barry-Lawrence Library with a Winter Mini Technology Grant for$14,989, requiring a 25 percent local match. Funds will be used to purchase 10 new servers, two new desktop computers, two new laptops, 10 network switches and six wireless access points.

The board put the equipment purchase up for bid and approved buying from MDC in Monett. The MDC bid for $13,761.37 exceeded the low bid from SHI, a Dell company, by nearly $200, but MDC's equipment exceeded the minimum standards requested in the bid and offers easy access for potential service. Two other companies submitted bids that ran up to $28,233.87.

Because the bids came in at less than expected, the board had $900 remaining and plans to purchase 10 server licenses and a three-pack of the Access Points program, pending approval by the State Library.

"With the technology, we probably couldn't afford to do any of that without the grants," Milburn said. "With them, we're able to afford servers that will let us expand services we have available."

Other grants included $3,874 from four Show Me Steps to Continuing Education grants. Funding will enable Milburn and Janea Coker, the Marionville supervisor and youth services coordinator; Rhonda Duff, the collection development library assistant; and J.J. Goulbourne, information technology manager, to attend the 2016 Public Library Association Conference from April 6-9 in Denver.

"These grants give us the opportunity to participate in a national public library venue, where we can network with other libraries, hear what problems there are in library world -- many of which are the same that we experience -- see what new things are coming out and talk to vendors," Milburn said. "It rejuvenates us. It's helpful to see what would work for your community and what wouldn't.

"Historically, we have not been able to afford to go to these conferences. The grant pays 75 percent of fees. Next year, the conference is in Philadelphia, and there's no way we could go."

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