Renfro Library Selected for Competitive Federal Humanities Grant
$10,000 Grant Will Help the Library Recover from the Coronavirus Pandemic
The Renfro Library has been selected as one of 200 libraries nationwide for the American Library Association’s American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries opportunity, an emergency relief program to assist libraries that have been adversely affected by the pandemic.
With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, the Renfro Library will use funds to anchor itself in the community as a strong humanities institution. The competitive award comes with a $10,000 grant that will help the library deliver excellent programs and services related to culture, history, literature, and other humanities subjects.
More than 370 libraries applied for the grant, according to ALA. View the full list of selected libraries.
The participating libraries, selected through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process, include public libraries, academic/college libraries, K-12 libraries, and tribal, special and prison libraries. The recipients represent 45 states and Puerto Rico and serve communities ranging in size 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.
“Libraries have faced significant hardships throughout the pandemic —from budget cuts to staff furloughs to building closures — especially in our communities of the greatest need,” said ALA President Patty Wong. “This crucial support from NEH will enable our beloved institutions, and the dedicated people who run them, to rebuild and emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.”
The first pandemic year saw a number of transitional pains in the library. Along with the loss of personnel and services, print book acquisitions dwindled to a standstill. Most importantly, opportunities to build community in the library also stagnated. The Renfro is back on track now and wants to shift into next gear by using the grant money to work with five diversity, equity, and inclusion student groups (Black Student Assoc., Indigenous Student Assoc., Latinx Student Assoc., National Organization of Women, and PRISM) to build the library’s collection in areas that support the knowledge and understanding of the culture, history, and literature of those groups. Two students from each group will receive stipends to work with the library staff to select and vet new resources for purchase. Once the new resources have been purchased, the library will host an open house for each group to showcase their selections.
American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.”