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So, I can finally speak openly about the grant I have been working on.  Anyone who knows me personally knows that I have been a bit stressed lately.  Well, up until last week I knew we had federal stimulus money (ARRA) money that was suppose to be coming to our library, but NYS had not yet released it. (Part of the whole budget fiasco.)   I couldn’t really say anything to anyone until the money was officially released.  Of course, while I was on vacation in NYC last week, I got the notification that the money was being released.

Here are some of the details of the grant (taken word for word from the NYS Library page):

The New York State Library, a unit of the Office of Cultural Education within the New York State Education Department, has received a federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) award in the Public Computer Center category as part of Round One funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).  Federal stimulus funding of $9,521,150 and $5,418,370 in matching funds will be used to create public access computer centers in 30 public libraries and 5 E-mobile computer training units. This project will enable public libraries to extend hours, upgrade connectivity, add more than 800 new public computer workstations, and provide access to 24/7 job search resources in 41 economically distressed upstate New York counties. More than 6 million New York residents will be served through this initiative.

BTOP Public Computer Center Criteria and Project Goals:

  • Increase  public access to high speed broadband services in high-need communities
  • Serve vulnerable populations (unemployed, underemployed or other vulnerable populations: non-English speakers, seniors, disabled, etc.)
  • Provide technical support and other resources to support job search and career advancement through community anchor institutions such as libraries
  • Advance the use of E-services for training, employment, digital literacy, and education
  • Stimulate employment and provide job opportunities

Award Period: February 1, 2010 – January 31, 2013

Scope of the Broadbandexpress@yourlibrary Project:

  • Public access computer and teleconferencing centers with high speed broadband services will be created in 30 libraries in economically distressed communities
  • Five E-mobile computing training units with high speed broadband services will be deployed in rural locations and underserved communities
  • The E-mobile and public access computer centers will provide 24/7 online access to job search resources as well as federal, state, and local E-government resources
  • Services will be freely available to six million residents in 41 New York State upstate counties

So, we will be receiving approximately $250,000 in ARRA funds.  With these funds (and our match of $162,000 of in-kind) we will be purchasing laptops, a few desktops, and videoconferencing equipment (plus materials and software, etc).  We will provide classes and tutoring.  In order to do all this we will also be creating some more work for people (see my previous post about  needing a librarian).  We will also be creating a plan to try and sustain this program after the end of the grant.

So, that is what has been making my head swim a bit lately.  I literally received an e-mail today that said “the White House liason wants to know…”  So much for the stereotype of the quiet librarian reading books and “shh”ing people.  So, wish me luck and I will keep you updated!

(Oh, I almost forgot – while doing this I am also setting up a brand new video gaming collection for the library.  We are the first ones in our system  to do this, so I am doing it all from scratch!  How do I get myself in to these things???)

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