A total of $95,000 has been granted to the Chazy and Plattsburgh public libraries, thanks to a collaboration to help Adirondack libraries win state funding for technological upgrades.
The Charles R. Wood Foundation, the Lake Placid Education Foundation and the Adirondack Community Trust worked together to support the expanding role of libraries in the Adirondack region.
"Our libraries are now called upon to support technological literacy and skills development," Bobby Wages, president of the board of the Charles R. Wood Foundation, said in a news release.
"That means they need electronic hardware and software, and librarians need to know how to use it and teach others to use it."
Adirondack Community Trust Executive Director Cali Brooks said that in May, her organization convened a meeting of the region's library systems, the state's library system and the two regionally focused foundations "to explore the changing roles of libraries and what we could do to help."
As a result, the Charles R. Wood Foundation and the Lake Placid Education Foundation offered funding for libraries already seeking funding for technological upgrades through the Public Library Construction Grant Program of New York State Public Library.
The State Library had opened a $14 million competitive grant to regional library systems for a range of building renovation projects. In order to qualify, a library would have to match at least 50 percent of the funds.
The Chazy Public Library is converting a former physician's office building into a technologically sophisticated, rural public library.
Grant funds will be used to transform the basement into a community room for multimedia applications and training for life skills.
The public will have access to state-of-the-art multimedia equipment for job-preparedness workshop presentations, training sessions, tutoring by Literacy Volunteers and more.
Plattsburgh Public Library, the central library of the Clinton-Essex-Franklin Library System, provides online reference help to residents throughout the three-county region.
Grant funds will be used to create a private computer cubical in the public computer room for video and interviewing by residents searching for jobs.
In recent years, Plattsburgh Public Library has become increasingly involved in literacy and skills development initiatives. The library also provides a career center, where job seekers use technology and learn computer skills to obtain gainful employment. The computer interviewing cubical will enhance support to those patrons.
"Our goal is to strengthen the technological capacities of the Adirondack North Country libraries to make them even more vital community centers of initiative," said Fred Calder, president of the Lake Placid Education Foundation.
"We are committed to helping these libraries gather funds through matching grants and to do so in collaboration with the Charles R. Wood Foundation and others whenever possible." Brooks noted that Adirondack Community Trust manages 12 library endowment funds and has made more than $500,000 in grants to support Adirondack libraries.