The James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St., is one of 200 libraries nationwide to receive a $10,000 grant as part of America’s ALA Bailout: Humanities Grants Opportunity for libraries.
The American Library Association (ALA) has awarded $2 million in humanities funding to libraries nationwide, as part of a grant program to support libraries recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.
With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, libraries will use the funds to anchor themselves as strong humanities institutions and vibrant centers of learning, conversation and connection.
“Libraries have faced significant challenges throughout the pandemic – from budget cuts to staff furloughs to building closures – especially in our communities that need them most,” said ALA President Patty Wong. “This crucial support from NEH will enable our beloved institutions and the dedicated people who lead them to rebuild and emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.”
The libraries, selected through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process, include public libraries, university/college libraries, K-12 libraries, and tribal, special, and prison libraries. The recipients represent 45 states and Puerto Rico and serve communities ranging from 642 residents in Weir, Kansas to the city of Los Angeles. Libraries were chosen with an emphasis on reaching historically underserved and/or rural communities.
US bailout opportunity will help libraries create or preserve jobs; support or maintain general operations; creating or supporting humanities programs; and implement new activities in the humanities or maintain existing ones.
“Strong public libraries are at the heart of healthy communities,” said NEH President Shelly C. Lowe. “The National Endowment for the Humanities is grateful to the American Library Association for its exemplary work in helping distribute NEH American Rescue Plan funding to help our nation’s libraries recover from the financial impact of the pandemic and strengthen their role as local centers of humanities learning, research and public programs.
The selected libraries in Pennsylvania are:
• Alexander Hamilton Memorial Free Library, Waynesboro
• Apollo Memorial Library, Apollo
• Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Centre, Allentown
• Braddock Carnegie Library Association, Braddock
• Cambria Library Association, Johnstown
• Shenango Valley Community Library, Sharon
• Cooper-Siegel Community Library, Pittsburgh
• James V. Brown Library, Williamsport
• Jefferson Hills Public Library, Jefferson Hills
• Kutztown Community Library, Kutztown
• Memorial Library of Nazareth and Surroundings, Nazareth
• North Wales Region Library, North Wales
• Saint Marys Area School District, St Marys
• Sayre Public Library, Sayre
• Somerset County Library, Somerset
• Upper Dublin Public Library, Fort Washington
• William Jeanes Memorial Library, Lafayette Hill
In addition to the $10,000 grant, selected libraries will receive a printed copy of “Going Virtual: Programs and Insights from a Time of Crisis” by Sarah Ostman for ALA’s Office of Public Programs (ALA Editions, 2021) , resources and online support.
Brown Library will use this funding to create book clubs for all ages, provide ongoing history programs for adults, create outreach kits for seniors, provide free performances by local theater companies, design kits cultural connections for children and organizing a summer digital arts camp for teenagers.
American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries is made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The Brown Library was also recently awarded the 2022 Platinum Transparency Seal, the highest level of recognition offered by GuideStar, a Candid service.
By sharing metrics that highlight Brown Library’s progress toward its mission, the organization helps the public move beyond simplistic methods of nonprofit valuation such as overhead ratios.
“In line with our long-standing belief in being transparent about our work, we are excited to convey the results of our organization in a user-friendly and highly visual way,” said Barbara S. McGary, executive director of the Brown Library. “Updating our nonprofit GuideStar profile to Platinum level, we can now easily share a host of up-to-date organizational metrics with our supporters as well as GuideStar’s online audience, which includes donors, funders , our peers and the media.”
To achieve Platinum status, the Brown Library added detailed information to its nonprofit profile on GuideStar: basic contact and organizational information; detailed financial information; qualitative information on objectives, strategies and capacities; and quantitative information on results and progress towards its mission. By taking the time to provide this information, the Brown Library has demonstrated its commitment to transparency and to providing donors and funders with meaningful data to assess the performance of nonprofit organizations.
The library focuses on several success metrics, including the number of program participants, the number of people who walk through the doors, and the total use of public computers and Wi-Fi. The library profile is available at https: //www.guidestar.org/profile/24-0799180.
The GuideStar database contains a profile for every tax-exempt nonprofit organization registered with the IRS. Profiles are filled with information sourced directly from nonprofits, the IRS, and other partners in the nonprofit sector.
The American Library Association (ALA) is the leading national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, ALA has been the trusted voice of academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the role of the library in improving learning and access to information for all. For more information, visit http://www.ala.org.
ALA’s Office of Public Programs enables libraries to create vibrant hubs of learning, conversation, and connection in communities of all types. Learn more at www.ala.org/ppo.
Established in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding proposals selected and peer-reviewed across the country. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at www.neh.gov.
The James V. Brown Library is open for browsing and pick-up 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. To reserve, visit www.jvbrown.edu or call 570-326-0536 during library hours. The library is also open for the use of public computers and for services such as printing, faxing, copying and scanning. Walk-in passport services are available. Brown Library is PA Library of the Year 2021.
The James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St., Williamsport, Pennsylvania, is the place to go to learn, connect, and grow. Founded in June 1907, the library champions the love of reading, opens new doors to lifelong learning, provides refuge for those who seek it, and ensures the preservation of public library services for future generations. The library welcomes over 225,000 visitors a year and circulates half a million items a year. A member of the Lycoming County Library System, the James V. Brown Library participates in PA Forward, a statewide initiative to promote literacy in our communities to provide a better future for all.