The Kansas Book Festival is providing much-needed funding for libraries across the state.
According to the organization, a library in rural Kansas hasn’t had funding for new children’s books for a decade or more. Another serves more than 1,500 patrons from a town with a population half that size. Communities pool resources so that a librarian can get technology in the hands of youth, and utilize spaces where patrons of all ages can make and learn things, even though the library itself doesn’t have the capacity.
These same communities have youth and adults alike so excited about summer reading programming that many libraries are giving in and starting two weeks early. These are six of the libraries the Kansas Book Festival’s grant committee was able to fund from a pool of more than 30 applicants.
Kansas Book Festival director Tim Bascom said focusing on literacy is vital.
“Often these libraries are in very small towns, all the way by the Colorado border or beyond Wichita to the southwest. Those librarians are opening a gate to the world,” Bascom said. “They help people not be isolated, to stay connected, and to learn, so we feel like it’s a very important thing we’re doing.”
The funds will be used by four libraries to fulfill book requests and two will apply the funds to technology acquisition:
- Moline Public Library
- Madison Public Library – Madison, KS
- Glasco City Library
- Turon Community Library
- Moore Family Library
- Plains Community Library
From higher than-average poverty rates and middle and high schools with no functioning library, these underserved and underrepresented communities need their libraries. They’re supported by volunteers and patrons—and phenomenal library staff—in the communities they serve.
The Library Grant Program of the Kansas Book Festival, which was begun by former First Lady Mary Brownback in 2011, is dependent on the generosity of donating individuals and agencies. This year, the Book Festival will take place on Saturday, September 16, on the grounds of Washburn University in Topeka, and it is free and open to the public. Visit https://www.kansasbookfestival.com/ or follow the festival on social media at https://www.facebook.com/KansasBookFestival/ for updates.