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Public library gets $10K services grant

The Brookhaven Public Library has received more than $10,000 in grants for training, equipment and records storage.

The Mississippi Library Commission has awarded $10,500 in Institute of Museum and Library Services and Technology Act grants to the Lincoln-Lawrence-Franklin Regional Library. All funds will be used to improve and maintain library services.

“We had really huge budget cuts in the past two years, and without these grants we wouldn’t be able to move our library forward,” said Assistant Director Katrina Castilaw. “It’s just a win-win all the way around.”

The library will start a project to transfer its microfilm collection into searchable portable document files. This collection contains newspapers, census records and similar archives. Portions of this collection will be placed on the library’s website for remote access. The project is beneficial to the protection of the media, as it will be converted to a digital format that can be stored in multiple locations.

The library will also be updating its digitization equipment to increase the public’s access to the archives. With the new equipment, larger images, slides and photo film may be added more easily to the archives. Large multi-page documents from the library’s own collection will be digitized as well.

Staff and public computers that can no longer be updated will be replaced with newer models. Library patrons average 2,500 computer sessions a month, utilizing the public computers for activities such as social media, job applications, online classes and research.

Another reason grant funding is provided to cover the cost of professional training is so the library staff can stay up to date on new technology in order to better assist the library’s patrons. The grant provides funds for registration fees, meals, and travel expenses.

Grant funds are also used to offset the costs of interlibrary loan services. Interlibrary loan services are provided to the public at no cost and allow patrons to request material from other libraries and institutions.

The Mississippi Library Commission awards grants to libraries all over the state for covering costs such as equipment and professional training. There are competitive and non-competitive grants that may be applied for.

Story by Gracie Byrne