The Banks Public Library on July 6, 2020. Photo: Chas Hundley
The Banks Public Library was one of 200 libraries awarded a $3,000 grant from the American Library Association as part of the “Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries” initiative.
The grant and initiative is designed to help library workers serve their rural populations, and for the Banks library, the funds will go toward establishing a “Young Families in Conversation” project.
“We are so proud to be chosen for this amazing opportunity,” said Banks Public Library Director Denise Holmes in a press release. “This grant will allow our library to get to reach our residents better and help us build a happier and healthier community for our families.”
Thanks to the grant, library staff will participate in an online course in how to lead conversations, and then apply those skills while hosting a series of virtual conversations with Banks-area parents with children ages zero to five about parenting topics and raising a young family. Holmes said that the idea was originated by library supervisor and programs coordinator Susan Cackler.
Funding from the grant will also pay for access to technology and literacy materials. Holmes said that the library is working to identify families that aren’t currently being served by the library and to provide them with wifi hotspots and Chromebooks if needed so that they can take part in the series.
Several other libraries in Oregon were awarded the grant as well, including the North Plains Public Library, Holmes told the Banks City Council during the Jan. 12 city council meeting.
In non-pandemic times, the library serves as a gathering place for families with children too young to be in school, but because the Banks Public Library has had to largely shut their doors to the public, offering curbside book pickup and other services, these families have been isolated, according to the press release from the Banks library.
“One of the goals of this project is to connect these families with each other to create a stronger sense of community and support for parents with young children during the pandemic,” the release read.
Those interested in participating in the conversation series should contact Susan Cackler at 503 324-1382 or [email protected].
According to the American Library Association, more than 300 libraries applied for the grant.
Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL).