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Area libraries receive grants from state

COAL CITY – Three area libraries have received “Another Back to Books” grants from Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White.

The grants were among those awarded to 159 libraries; a total of $670,000 was distributed by the state. The grants were given to acquire fiction or nonfiction books, learning CDs and DVDs and other educational materials.

“It is important that our libraries have access to a diverse collection of books for patrons to read for knowledge or enjoyment,” Jesse White said in a news release announcing the grants. “These grants are a great way for libraries to encourage reading and get more people to use their local library.”

Allison Peterson, librarian at Coal City Community Unit School District 1, applied for the grant to purchase print material.

“We plan to buy newer nonfiction titles that focus on Common Core,” Peterson said. “I am talking to the staff to see which subject areas are needed.”

The school district also is updating what it has in nonfiction sections now.

“This is our first time applying, and we were happy to receive it,” Peterson said. “It will purchase anywhere from 80 to 100 books for our libraries.”

The district is mapping out a program on how it will implement the use of the titles purchased, and will start next school year with them.

The grant will be split between each of the district’s schools.

The Coal City Public Library District also received $5,000 in grant money and Danielle Diamond, teen service director, said it will using the funds for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related items.

“We are able to buy so many things with the money,” Diamond said. “A lot of changes have happened in technology and a lot of the nonfiction we have is no longer relevant.”

She said the library intends to replace its stock of VHS tapes with DVDs, including the full set of Bill Nye The Science Guy DVDs.

Diamond said all the summer reading programs the library will offer this year have something to do with science or technology, so using the grant money in that area will provide new material to use.

“Without the grant, we’d have to replace little by little,” she said. “We would not be able to buy an entire collection like we are now.”

Sarah Robertson at the Three Rivers Public Library in Channahon also applied and received a $3,800 grant.

“We’re using our grant to purchase book kits in a bag for book clubs to check out,” Robertson said. “We are putting together kits for all ages, from kids to adults.”

The library has two book clubs that meet at its location ,but any book club in the area is welcome to come in and check out the kits.

Each kit has six to eight new books or audiobooks with newer titles, which are hard to get.

“We have six kits available right now, and we plan to add new ones through August,” she said. “We will be able to purchase 30 kits with the grant money we received. We plan to continue purchasing through August.”

Awards are funded by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Illinois State Library.

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