State Librarian pays Barton County Library a visit to award grant money

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“It’s always great to receive some funding to just update ourselves and keep us current and available for our patrons and having the State Librarian here is just a bonus to be recognized,” explained Barton County Library Director Carol Darrow. “She does a great job for Missouri Public Libraries, so we’re glad she’s here.”

Missouri State Librarian Robin Westphal visited the Barton County Library on Wednesday to award the organization with the Edge Action Plan Grant. Launched this year by the Urban Library Council, the Edge 2.0 Initiative Assessment allows libraries to take a look at their resources and see if the library’s priorities best serve the community.

“The goal of the tool is that libraries take a look at their technology needs, as well as how they are responding to what the community needs are,” said Westphal. “Then once libraries have completed the assessment, we’ve then offered grant opportunities for the libraries.”

And for those libraries who’ve completed the assessment, they then become eligible for grants to help them achieve their goals. Sixteen libraries received these grants across the state of Missouri because of their willingness to adapt to changes in technology.

“What we’re looking at are libraries that have a good plan in place,” Westphal added. “It’s very important when we are awarding grant funding that we know that they’re going to be able to follow through and plan from start to finish to put the technology in. We’re also looking for innovative plans.”

For the Barton County Library, their assessment indicated that area students need the internet for homework and projects. So with the $8,851 grant, the library is ready to make some changes.

“Internet accessibility, having access to different digital tools,” said Darrow. “A couple things we purchased with the grant are two new laptops that will have video conferencing and podcast capabilities, so those will be available for our patrons, and just keeping ourselves up to date.”

The Barton County Library Director hopes with the new equipment, adults will be able to practice skills such as Microsoft Office and transfer them to their careers.

The grant helped the library purchase three new laptops, replace two servers, and two printers.

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