Library Awarded CARES Act Grant to Respond to COVID-19

Mike Seals - July 16, 2020 10:24 am

Ponca City Public Library Awarded  Grant

The ODL (Oklahoma Department of Libraries) has awarded a $1,000.00 PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) grant to the Ponca City Library to help purchase PPE and supplies to keep staff and visitors safer during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Ponca City Library is one of 64 institutions to receive a grant from ODL courtesy of the federal CARES Act and the IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services). A total of $60,000.00 was distributed by ODL to address the coronavirus concerns of public libraries, tribal libraries, tribal cultural centers, museums, and historic sites in the state.

Holly LaBossiere said the funding will be used to provide protective gloves, masks, disinfectant, and hands free sanitizer dispensers for staff and customers.  LaBossiere stated,  “It looks like we may be dealing with this virus for some time, so it’s very important that we follow CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines as we open up services to the public. This grant will provide supplies we need to help reduce risk of exposure for our employees and customers.”  LaBossiere added, “Our mission is to serve our community, and we want to continue that mission in the safest way we can.”

The Ponca City Library serves as a guide to the world of information, a source of leisure materials, and a supporter of life-long learning. Free Library cards are available:

  • Current hours of operation are Monday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • The hours between 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. are designated for those with compromised immune systems and the elderly.
  • The Library is trying to limit the amount of time a person can be in the library to an hour.
  • Charging stations have a 30 minute time limit.
  • A limited number of chairs are available in the library to help with social distancing.
  • Free curbside service is available for those who do not wish to come inside the building.

In developing the grant, ODL Director Melody Kellogg said, “Institutions were surveyed about any hurdles they might face in returning to service during the pandemic.  The top concerns of libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions were a shortage of cleaning supplies and PPE, fear on the part of staff and the public, and the challenge of enforcing social distancing and other best-health practices in their facilities.”  Kellogg continued, “We developed the grant proposal to help address these concerns, and we were very fortunate in that we were able to provide some funding to all 64 of the eligible institutions that applied.”

The PPE grant is the first of two that will be available from ODL, with funding from IMLS and the CARES Act. The grants were designed to help the state’s important cultural institutions address two impacts of COVID-19: public health concerns, and the need to breach the digital divide and improve digital inclusion to better serve the public.  Kellogg concluded, “The pandemic has thrown a spotlight on the digital divide in our state and nation.  At a time when, for safety reasons, we are depending more than ever on electronic communication, far too many of our fellow citizens don’t have the tools or access needed to take advantage of important services.”

Recipients of the Digital Inclusion Grants, totaling $291,320.00, will be announced later in July.  A complete list of Oklahoma’s 64 PPE Grant recipients is at: news.oklibshare.org/federal-funding/odl-awards-cares-act-ppe-grants-to-64-institutions.

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries is the official state library of Oklahoma. The agency serves the information and records management needs of state government, assists with public library development, coordinates library and information technology projects for the state, and serves the general public through its specialized collections.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services works to advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grant-making, research, and policy development.

 

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