The Elkins Public Library was one of only 30 libraries in the US and the only library in the state of Arkansas selected to receive an Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, library officials learned July 23. With the nearly $20,000 promised and partnerships made during the application process, the Elkins Public Library plans to expand existing programs and provide new services. The library’s director is quoted as saying “We are so excited for the opportunity to improve our outreach services to the people of Elkins and surrounding areas.”
The grant program, launched in 2018, is available for three categories: Digital Inclusion, Community Memory, and Transforming School Library Practice. The grant is designed specifically to strengthen the ability of small and rural libraries, archives, and related organizations to serve their communities.
The library’s team worked together to create a digital inclusion plan for three main age groups to fit the grant’s theme:
- School-aged kids will benefit from expanded coding, robotics, and electronics programming and resources
- Working-aged adults will benefit from partnerships made to help grow and build business skills for workplace development
- Senior adults will benefit from a project designed to digitize and preserve local history.
For the robotics programs, the library will be teaming with the Ozark Section of IEEE – the Northwest Arkansas chapter of the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers – to expand the Elkins Robotics and Electronics Club that was founded in 2018. The program meets weekly at the library, and recently expanded from high school to a full K-12 program. The kids learn programming, electronics and robotics by building real circuits over the course of each semester. The grant will provide additional supplies to expand events to more students.
For the business outreach efforts, the library will partner with Startup Junkie. The library will offer several new business events each year with the provided funding that are designed to help local businesses with issues such as digital marketing and business planning.
For our digital history project, the library will reach out to the Elkins Senior Center and residents to add to the local history already collected and stored at the library. With the addition of technology and staff hours all items will be scanned and put into a searchable database for public use.