UNION — Vose Library has been selected as one of 200 libraries to participate in Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries, an American Library Association initiative that helps library workers better serve their small and rural communities, according to a news release from the library.

The competitive award comes with a $3,000 grant that will help the library work directly with its patrons and community friends to develop a website that is responsive to its demographics and provide its users with easily accessible information services.

“We are so grateful to be one of only 200 libraries across the nation to receive this award and we plan to put it to good use by designing a website that will continue to serve our community well into the 21st century,” said Library Director Dr. Debra Lay, according to the release. “This grant will allow our library to provide information services that are of high demand and tailored specifically to the needs of our community. We look forward to hearing feedback from our stakeholders so that we successfully include their needs in our planning and implementation stages.”

“As part of the grant, and as the library director I have taken an online course in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to library work today. We will then host an online conversation with residents about What makes for a “wicked good” website? and use the grant funds to support a redesign and rebuild of our present site,” said Lay.

The dilemma of a poorly designed website has impacted the library’s potential to be seen as a pillar of the community well before the COVID-19 pandemic, but certainly has been exacerbated while patrons have been forced to retreat from this social setting. The library has found its hard-to-reach clients even more indisposed and its website has been inefficient in projecting its most current offerings. This grant offers Vose Library an opportunity to reach out to its community, generate valuable perspectives, and offer a product that will serve its library patrons’ unquenchable search for information.

More than 300 libraries applied for the grant, according to association.

According to the release, since 2014, the association’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has re-imagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees and staff.

Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association  in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries.

Those interested in getting involved or taking part in the conversation can contact Lay at 207-785-4733 or [email protected].

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