By Carlee Edwards
Congratulations to Mid-Continent Public Library on receiving $53,950 in two grants for both technology upgrades and educational enrichment from Secretary of State Jason Kander, who made the announcement on June 2nd, 2014.
The technology grant gives the library $35,000 to upgrade communication devices that will service to patrons with speech and hearing impairments, while the $18,950 educational enrichment grant will go to implement a literacy program for youth ages 12 to 18.
“Mid-Continent Public Library has always supported local communities by promoting literacy and community engagement,” Mid-Continent Public Library Lee’s Summit Branch Manager Diane Christensen said. “In recent years, we have been ramping up our efforts in early childhood literacy, outreach to the community, and practical programs targeted to engage community members and bring them something of value.”
For the past 40 years Mid-Continent Public Library has worked within the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area to promote early childhood and youth literacy by challenging students to participate in their Summer Reading Program.
These efforts have had such success that Mid-Continent Public Library partnered with Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium (KC- AERC) to investigate the effectiveness of student’s participation in the Summer Reading Program.
Studies have already proven that students who do not read over the summer can actually have lower reading scores upon returning to school in the fall, but in 2012 the KC-AERC began a study with three local school districts that has shown not just maintained reading levels of students who participate in the Summer Reading Program, but even increased reading levels.
It is due to the success in this program and others that Mid-Continent Public Library was awarded the Institute of Museum and Library Service National Medal for 2014 back in April and the two grants from the Secretary of State this week.
“It is exciting to have these efforts recognized,” Christensen said. “Programs such as the Teen Award Book Academy, Summer Reading Program, Read-Aloud 1,2,3, and preschool story times support literacy, while programs on gardening, watercolor painting, computer skills, and small business support topics provide enrichment for community members and makes our community stronger as a whole.”
The U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries, helps to fund the secretary of state’s technology and educational enrichment grants through the Library Services and Technology Act. In the 2014 fiscal year, the Missouri State Library, a part of Kander’s office, has approved 129 grant applications that will distribute $1.4 million to libraries throughout Missouri.