Area Libraries On the List for Sec. of State Tech Upgrade Grants

By Benjamin Cox on June 10, 2024 at 5:08am

Several libraries in the listening area are receiving portions of $2 million from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office for technology upgrades.

Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias made the announcement Thursday in Cicero, saying that libraries that serve under-served communities must be able to keep up with the technological advances of society to continue to be relevant institutions for their communities.

Libraries in the listening area receiving the grants which range between $12,500 and $27,500 include, Barry, Beardstown, Greenfield, Roodhouse, Rushville, Virginia, and Winchester.

Because libraries receive most funding through property taxes, budgets are primarily determined by their local taxable base. Property values vary widely around the state, leaving some local libraries without needed funding to continue to provide essential services to their communities or to upgrade their technology infrastructure.

In applying for the grants, libraries are encouraged to consider the technology needs of constituents. They can use the grants to help fund things such as adding hardware and software, expanding online collections and e-resources, purchasing digital devices and mobile apps, increasing Wi-Fi capacity and internet accessibility, assuring ADA compliance for library websites and purchasing adaptive technologies that accommodate service needs for persons with disabilities, and incorporating patron self-checkouts.

Libraries must file plans for use of grant funds by June 14 and projects can start as early as June 28. Libraries will have two years to spend the grant money.