WashCo libraries get tens of thousands in coronavirus relief aid
Money from the American Rescue Plan Act is flowing to local libraries.
The Tualatin Public Library will use its $13,500 grant to better serve Tualatin's Spanish-speaking community.
The money, part of President Joe Biden's plan to provide direct financial relief for individuals, businesses, cities and others affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, will be used to start a program called Tualatin Bibliotequitas. That includes purchasing book collections and other items for members of the city's Latino community by distributing popular titles for Spanish-speaking or bilingual children and adults, according to a news release.
"This grant will help the library connect Latino residents with library resources and reading materials," said Jerianne Thompson, director of the Tualatin Library. "We want to help people discover the joy of reading."
About one-fifth of Tualatin residents identify as Hispanic or Latino.
Currently, the Tualatin Public Library has 5,000 Spanish-language books, movies and compact discs.
The grants were made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services as part of the Library Services and Technology Act, according to the release.
They were designed to aid libraries, museums and other nonprofit groups to promote digital inclusion and technology. In Oregon, the funds are administered by the State Library of Oregon in a highly competitive process.
Thompson said the books the library purchases will include popular fiction and nonfiction titles.
"With the books, we'll be distributing bookmarks that highlight the library's online resources and e-book collection, which includes Spanish-language titles," she said. "We also plan to increase our bilingual Spanish/English programs in the community, by visiting local apartment complexes or neighborhood parks."
Since some families have a hard time making it to the library, Thompson said the goal is to make books more accessible in the community along while promoting the joy of reading.
Other area libraries that received ARPA funding include:
-- Cedar Mill Community Library Association: $31,436.60 to work with area schools, early childhood outreach programs, and community organizations to bring resources and services to underserved communities.
-- Hillsboro School District: $11,500 to host Reedville Family Tech Nights. The program aims at increasing student technology skills and offering families an opportunity to acquire computer education and workforce development skills.
-- North Plains Public Library: $3,750 to increase Wi-Fi access when the building is closed. Also, it will support elementary students in learning about the indigenous history of the North Plains area. In addition, funds will be used to host a bilingual Hindi/English storytime series.
-- Vernonia Public Library: $15,175.60 to upgrade public computers and Wi-Fi. Money will be used to purchase technology to facilitate community presentations, webinars and meetings. In addition, the library will increase public awareness of services by purchasing a tablet to educate patrons on downloadable materials.
-- Washington County Cooperative Library Services:Â $7,150 to purchase a VIP Learning Tool for Spanish-speaking patrons to get needed online training and certifications, and to curate a collection of Spanish-language materials for people who are incarcerated at correctional facilities.Â
n Washington County Law Library: $4,765.02 to create an electronic lending collection of key Oregon legal titles.Â
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