The State Library of North Carolina announced the SLNC CARES Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant awardees. The 39 awards, totaling nearly $870,000, support local library projects across North Carolina that target high need communities to address digital inclusion, expand digital network access, purchase internet accessible devices, and provide related technical support in response to the coronavirus.
Sandhills Community College has been awarded a $10,000 grant to expand library WIFI access. Sandhills Community College’s Katharine Boyd Library serves a community comprised of students, faculty, staff and non-student library patrons who reside in Moore and Hoke counties. Conversely, many residents of these counties suffered layoffs and job loss due to the recent COVID 19 outbreak.
Although most libraries closed in response to this situation, Boyd Library remains open to extend a crucial lifeline for those who need library services, especially internet and WIFI access. These factors, coupled with the shift to online-only classes for students have made internet access a priority that adversely affects members of our community, as many cannot afford to purchase their own access. These outside access points will also support current and future social distancing practices and allow swift reaction to future outbreaks.
“The shift to learning and working online to help limit the spread of COVID-19 has highlighted the increased challenges for those without access to technology and internet resources,” said Susi H. Hamilton, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, which oversees the State Library. “Our local libraries work tirelessly to bridge that gap and provide vital technology services to their patrons. I am proud that the State Library is able to assist them in that effort through this grant program.”
The State Library received funding to support this grant program as part of the federal government’s investment in museums and libraries through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which provided additional funds to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to address the digital divide during the COVID-19 pandemic. These grant awards are made possible under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
Photo of SCC by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer John Patota.