Friends of the Cottage Grove Public Library has received a $70,560 grant to enhance and create community-oriented library programs.
The grant will aid in better serving Spanish and Mayan-language speaking communities and support a community health worker who can act as a resource navigator for individuals and families who come to the library, community center, or Senior and Disabled Services offices for information and services.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to help connect our Latine community to resources and a place where they feel welcome,” said Head Librarian Natasha Chitow. “It’s especially important for us to support our local marginalized communities, including those who have sought refuge in our community from untenable situations.”
“Latine” is a neologism intended to replace “Latino” as a gender-neutral term.
The Friends of the Library is a nonprofit organization providing support to the library and promoting it within the community. The nonprofit received the grant in a very competitive process; less than a third of the total funding requested was approved.
In a release, the group said the federal funds will be used to support library staff in designing programming, classes, and trainings, as well as curating collections specific to the interests and needs of the Latine and Guatemalan communities.
“We hope to see an expanded user base, with individuals and families who are not only more comfortable in participating in library programs and accessing materials, but may be actively involved in feedback, suggestions, and facilitation,” said the nonprofit in its release.
In addition, it is hoped that an expansion of broader cultural programming and activities will help diversify the experiences and awareness of English-speaking patrons.
Meanwhile, the library is on the lookout for more paid workers to take on the added responsibilities.
“It’s a job where you’re working with everybody in the community,” said Chitow.
Though it has been budgeted for the equivalent of four full-time positions this fiscal year, the library has yet to fill those spots.
For contact information and library hours, visit online at www.cottagegroveor.gov/library.
The library’s grant was 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.
For more information about the federal library grants, visit the Institute of Museum and Library Services website at imls.gov. More information about American Rescue Plan Act grants awarded by the State Library of Oregon, including other grant recipients, is available at libguides.osl.state.or.us/lstagrants/arpaawards.
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