Virtual Programming Grants
CARES Act funding was used to create grant opportunities for libraries in Massachusetts to increase virtual programming in their communities. Libraries applied for grants to purchase recording equipment including cameras, microphones, and editing software; materials to create crafting and science kits that residents could pick up curbside; and to hire professionals to host events that were available to all Massachusetts residents through the MBLC’s Virtual Events Calendar.
In the First Congressional District, libraries in Ashfield, Blandford, Chester, Chicopee, Holyoke, Longmeadow, Springfield, and Westfield received a combined total of $24,619 in these grants.
Summer Distance Learning Grants
Libraries needed to adapt quickly to continue providing summer services that are expected by communities in a safe and accessible manner. To assist them, MBLC provided a total of $117,500 of CARES Act and LSTA funding to libraries that requested it to purchase summer reading tracking software Beanstack. This allowed summer reading to continue while children, teens, and adults were at home.
In addition, LSTA funding was used to support expanding the concept of summer learning in libraries beyond reading. In the First Congressional District, Blandford and Ludlow received a combined total of $3,760 in Summer Learning grants.
LSTA Direct Grants to LibrariesMassachusetts uses LSTA funding to provide libraries with direct grants to meet the needs of their communities. There were 36 LSTA direct grants totaling $404,305 across the state in 2020.
Below are examples of direct grant funded projects in the First Congressional District:
Mind in the Making, Charlton Public Library
The importance of play in early childhood development is crucial to future success in life. The Charlton Public Library designed and implemened a dynamic Play & Learn Space that will enhance the play experience for caregivers and children ages 0-6. Creating a play space in the Library is an ideal way to make sure it is freely accessible to everyone in the community. The benefits of unstructured play are widely known by educators and medical professionals, but not necessarily by all caregivers of young children. The Library will provide programming to educate caregivers about the benefits of play and the importance of social and emotional learning.
Strength in Families, Springfield City Library
This project develops Family Literacy Advocates. Composed of parents, grandparents, and caregivers, Family Literacy Advocates will learn together to create a network of knowledgeable and skilled experts that provide advice and resources to other families. By learning together in a cohort model, these family members will be supports for one another when challenges arise. This learning will be delivered in a two-generation approach, with children engaging in the literacy and developmental practices while their caregivers are learning about those same topics, as well as strategies to engage with elected officials, policymakers, and neighborhood councils.