Public Library Accessibility and Improvement Grants Awarded

Public Library Accessibility and Improvement Grants announcement from State Librarian, Jennifer Nelson for libraries in ALS and MELSA:

State Library Services is pleased to announce the Round Two 2013 Public Library Accessibility and Improvement grant awardees. With $608,700 in funds available, five completed applications totaling more $1.1 million in requests were received by State Library Services. The two applications receiving top average scores by an independent review committee were approved for funding by Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius.

Anoka County will receive a grant of $150,000 toward the renovation of the Northtown branch in Blaine. The project will improve the accessibility of the building with an improved entrance, adapt the children’s area and other building spaces. Robert D. Thistle, Anoka County Library Board President noted that “the Library Board is pleased to receive this grant … the funds will allow us to make the service desk, restrooms and book returns accessible to all.”

The City of Ely will receive a grant of $458,699 toward building a new accessible library building. The current library, housed in Ely’s Community Center, has outgrown its space and is not accessible to people with mobility impairments. The new building will bring the library into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines. Rachel Heinrich, director of the Ely Public Library, noted that the grant will help “this ‘end of the road’ community to improve library service to the area residents without a significant tax increase by bridging the gap between cost savings gained by the new building and the payments on the building’s construction.”

The Public Library Accessibility and Improvement Grant program is a one-to-one matching construction grant program intended to support the renovation and construction of public libraries, with a special interest in ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities. The program is funded biennially by an appropriation from the Minnesota Legislature.