An important way your library provides value-added service is through grants. This can be a productive, but not necessarily easy, process. Through the steps of planning, writing, applying, implementing, following and reporting grants are earned, not given. Despite best efforts, there’s no sure grant: It is a competitive and variable process.
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However, grants are worth the game. They can allow us to have more, be more and do more in your behalf. Grants typically are not tied to basic or operating services — but rather increased or enhanced services that allow us to provide greater levels of programming, materials, equipment or related services than would normally would be the case. In a phrase, become value-added.
It’s likely you’ve used several of these grant-enhanced library services without being aware of it. For example, if you’ve checked out a TV-series DVD set over the past couple of years, chances are that it may have been provided by a Colorado Library People grant that allowed us to purchase specifically requested DVD sets that otherwise would have been unaffordable. There’s also a good chance that if your child recently borrowed a new juvenile-level library book, that book was provided through a grant awarded to us through the national Libri Foundation.
Have you used a red library laptop or otherwise wired or wireless Internet access with your own machine (within or outside) the library? If so, you’ve used equipment or telecommunications provided by grants. The federally funded BTOP (Broadband and Technology Opportunity Program) instituted by the USDA and administered in Colorado by the State Library provided for the purchase of 16 public machines, one American with Disabilities Act-compatible machine, and a telecommunications rewiring of the library. Year-to-year, library Internet access is subsidized 50 percent by our annual e-rate application process.
In the last several months we’ve received a supplemental BTOP grant that’s placed two digital cameras and a Mac laptop (as well as some other equipment) in the library for public and programming use. Last week we were notified we’ve been awarded a Colorado SIPA technology grant that will replace our current, less-manageable devices with professional equipment that will be faster, easy to manage and much more secure.
In other departments, the Colorado Water Quality Control establishes safe-water standards that the library must measure and meet daily. This is expensive. We’ve applied for – and received – two substantial grants in the last several years that have allowed remodeling and the installation of equipment to ensure that the water used in the library is up to standards while meeting your needs.
There’s more. For example, electronic books for download and just-added electronic sources of information available from home. Details next month.