A state grant has allowed the Morris Area Public Library to add more than 350 Spanish-language books to its collection.
The addition, as well as added bilingual books and language resources, helps the library fill a “gap” it says existed in service.
“It’s helped us expand our mission to those who aren’t native speakers,” said Library Director Kyla Waltermire.
The library received $5,000 to beef up its collection as part of Libros para Todos (Books for All), a state grant project awarded by Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White.
More than $1 million in grants were awarded to 230 libraries in the state, according to the Morris Library. The $5,000 Morris recently received helped purchase Spanish-language materials — including fiction, nonfiction and job/educational resources — and language learning resources.
The items arrived on the library’s shelves last week.
“I think it really fills a gap that provides services to those who primarily speak Spanish, as well as those looking to learn Spanish,” said Debbie Griggs, assistant director of Morris Area Public Library.
The Morris Library already had some Spanish-language materials before the grant, but library officials admit the selection was small.
According to Griggs, the library previously had only four young adult novels in Spanish.
“We did have a collection, but it was pretty thin,” Griggs said. “We needed to bolster that area.”
Griggs said there had been demand for Spanish-language materials and that many residents had previously had to order such books from other libraries.
Griggs and Waltermire said the new additions — which include books for adults, young adults and children — help make the library stronger.
“It’s a way to reach all age groups and more people,” Griggs said.
According to Waltermire, the library would eventually like to offer Spanish-language and bilingual programs.
The grant is funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.
It had been distributed annually in the past, but had been suspended due to the economy, Griggs said.
“This is the first time in several years it’s been awarded,” Griggs said.