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National grant awarded to Oregon Co. Library District


The Oregon County Library District has been selected as one of 310 libraries to participate in round two of Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities, an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that provides community engagement and accessibility resources to small and rural libraries to help them better serve people with disabilities. 

The competitive award, announced this week by Oregon County Library Coordinator Janice Richardson comes with a $10,000 grant that will help the library district install handicap accessible doors at the Thayer Public Library Branch and the Koshkonong Public Library Branch. 

"We are so proud to be chosen for this amazing opportunity," said Richardson. "This grant will allow our library district to serve our residents with disabilities better. It will help us improve our services to ensure this population feels welcome and comfortable in our space." 

As part of this grant, library staff will take an online course in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to library work today. Staff will host a conversation with residents about accessibility for people with disabilities and how the funds will be used to increase services to the disabled population in the library district’s service area. 

Providing accessibility to the public is a vital service for public libraries, said Richardson.

“All citizens should be able to have access to resources provided by public libraries,” she added. “Our library district provides many services including free internet access, Wi-Fi, copier, printer, fax, scanning, story times, book clubs, e-books, Missouri Evergreen consortium, as well as books, magazines, movies and many other things.”

Anyone interested in getting involved or taking part in the conversation is invited to contact Richardson at the Alton Public Library Branch or visit one of the district’s five branch locations in Oregon County. Patrons may also visit the district’s website at ocld.lib.mo.us for more information. 

Since 2014, ALA's Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has reimagined the role libraries play in supporting communities, said ALA officials. Libraries of all types have used free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in antiviolence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees and staff.