CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error, the original version of this story conflated an after-school program grant for Chapel Hill Public Library with a grant to establish the Triangle Learning Network that went to UNC. The story has been updated to reflect these changes.
The Library Services and Technology Act grants are federally funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services are awarded to various eligible North Carolina libraries.
Cooper said she was proud to present the grants for the North Carolina libraries, which totaled $2.3 million.
“In addition to distributing federal library funds for competitive brands to local libraries, the (Institute of Museum and Library Services) provides funding that is also directed to state-wide program and resources that benefit all libraries,” she said.
Cooper also noted that under President Trump’s proposed budget for 2018, funding to the Institute of Museum and Library Services would be eliminated.
“It is worth noting that this agency is placed for elimination under the president’s budget, which would mean a loss $4.6 million annual funds to the state libraries,” Cooper said. “I want to thank our state library staff for all they do to serve the citizens of our states.”
Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger emphasized the importance of these grants to the Chapel Hill Public Library.
“They’re huge. Chapel Hill (Public Library) is one of the few independent libraries in the state, we are not part of the county; we partner with the county, but we’re not under the county system,” Hemminger said. “So, most of the payments that come here are dependent on town funds and grants.”
UNC's grant money will go towards establishing the Triangle Learning Network, which will focus on innovative educational programs, and towards the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center.
A grant for Chapel Hill Public Library will go towards an after-school science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) program. Meeghan Rosen, assistant director of the Chapel Hill Public Library, said the grant money will help students succeed in school.
“Those core subjects are critical to any kid’s success in school, and the ways we can support the school’s work during out-of-school hours are gonna be terrifically expanded by this grant," Rosen said.
Hemminger said that Chapel Hill Public Library is unique because it provides freedom for researchers, unlike other grants that try to censor what research.
“We are very, very grateful to the state for passing these dollars on,” she said. “We applied last year and we didn’t get it. So it was really exciting to get it this year.”
Rosen said the grant money will have a positive impact on the community and hopes it will help teachers and students.
“Specifically, we will be able to reach more kids in different ways and to foster education success and life-long learning especially in civic engagement.”
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