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The federal American Rescue Plan Act grant will increase access to technology and cultural programming

HOLLY SCHOLZ/MADRAS PIONEER 
 - A photo exhibit, "September 11, 2001: The Day that Changed the World," was on display at the Jefferson County Library Tuesday, Sept. 7 through Saturday, Sept. 11 in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum and the National Endowment for the Humanities created and shared the downloadable educational exhibition with libraries and schools across the county. Pictured, Library Services Specialist Star Todd stands in front of the series of posters on display in the adult section of the library. Locals were asked to write their memories of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Those memories may be included in the library's I Am a Story project, a community storytelling event that will eventually become a published book.

The Jefferson County Library has received a $145,794.92 federal American Rescue Plan Act grant to be used for providing resources to increase access to technology and create quality culturally attuned programming to enhance learning and cultural awareness within Jefferson County.

According to a Sept. 10 press release from Library Director Jane Ellen Innes, the funds will be used for several resources and projects. The grant will fund a bookmobile that provides access to materials and internet service; hotspots available for checkout; programs specific to needs on the Warm Springs Reservation; programs targeted toward the Latino population; and a year-long event, I Am a Story, that will serve to celebrate the people of Jefferson County and promote cultural education and dialogue among ethnic groups.

"The Jefferson County Library received the grant in a very competitive process; less than a third of the total funding requested was approved," Innes said.

Grants were made possible thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, through the Library Services and Technology Act, and administered by the State Library of Oregon. The federal funds were included in the American Rescue Plan Act to help libraries, museums and related nonprofits promote digital inclusion and connectivity, address needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, and generally support efforts to provide equitable service to communities.

Upon learning that the library received the grant, Innes said, "We are excited to have the opportunity to continue meeting the information and resource needs of our county, especially our underserved populations, by expanding county-wide outreach programs."

The federal funds will be used to help with a Warm Springs bicycle clinic for children to learn safety and maintenance. The library is providing copies of the "Bicycle Book." Innes said they are making arrangements for OMSI to brings its inflatable planetarium and to provide copies of the book, "Coyote Places the Stars."

The bookmobile will make regular visits to high-need locations and provide internet service – both at the bookmobile site and mobile hotspots available for checkout.

These funds will also be used to create programming that celebrates the Latino culture. Multiple performers will be scheduled throughout the year – a Mariachi band, a guitarist for children, a singer, and a bilingual ventriloquist/magician.

The grant will also fund advertising, event planning, and book editing and publishing for the library's I am a Story project, the year-long multi-staged project that includes an oral storytelling program scheduled for summer 2022, in addition to recorded oral histories and culminating book.

Library awarded K-12 $92K programming grant

The Jefferson County Library was awarded a $92,000 K-12 Summer Learning Fund from the Oregon Community Foundation.

This funding supported the 2021 Jefferson County Library District Summer Reading Program activities, including providing STEAM kits for children and youth participating in the reading program, plus a free age-appropriate book. The grant also funded an outreach vehicle to deliver services to communities in all parts of the county.

Speaking on behalf of the library, Director Jane Ellen Innes said, "these funds allow us to continue to improve our services to all county residents, including the communities in the farthest areas."

The library's service district includes Jefferson County and parts of Wasco County. As a rural district, the library's team travels throughout the county, including Ashwood and Camp Sherman.


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