ROCHELLE — Two Rochelle area libraries have been awarded grant funding as part of the statewide $15 million public library grants.
The Flagg-Rochelle Public Library District along with the Creston-Dement Public Library each received funding from the Per Capita and Equalization Aid grants, announced by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White.
Sarah Flanagan, Flagg-Rochelle Public Library Director, said the $17,196 grant award will be used to update security features as well as the library’s emergency disaster plan and for emergency training for staff members.
As part of applying for the Per Capita grant, the library staff reviews certain requirements that are mandated by the state.
“The 2018 grant really focused on library security,” Flanagan said. “We will be working with professionals to help us with our emergency disaster plan. We will develop new signage for our exits and improve what we have. We will also decide what we are lacking and what we need to make it better.”
A total of 630 public libraries serving almost 12 million patrons will benefit from this year’s grant awards.
“I am proud of the outstanding service Illinois’ public libraries provide to our communities,” White said in the press release dated Apr. 24. “Our libraries are the best and most reliable information resource available to citizens and I am pleased to be able to provide these grants each year.”
The Per Capita Grant funding, which is based on the number of residents in the district, is authorized under Illinois library law for public libraries. This allows resources for expenses such as materials, personnel, equipment, electronic access, telecommunications, and technology. The Equalization Aid Grants help qualifying public libraries with a low library tax base ensure a minimum level of funding for library services.
Kristi Scherer, Library Director for Creston-Dement Public Library, said the funds are earmarked for the summer reading program.
“We will use the funds for books and specialty items. We will have a T-Rex Explorers program…all kids like dinosaurs,” Scherer said.
The Creston-Dement Public Library is located in Creston and served the village of Creston and Dement Township.
“Per Capita grants are tax dollars that are coming back to the community,” Connie Avery, Assistant Library Director, said. “They are funds that are not going anywhere else. They are for libraries and is money that people in our district have paid out that’s coming back to our community.”
Flanagan said the library has recently received the funding from the 2017 grant award in the amount of $10,681. Several items were purchased as a result including books and technology.
“We wrote the 2017 grant to improve our Spanish book collection, graphic novel collection for teens and adults, expand our audiovisual collection, purchase materials the adult and juvenile periodical, electronic, and print collections, and to update our current website to make it appealing to more patrons,” Flanagan said.