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Springfield-Greene County Library To Use $50,000 Grant To Benefit Patrons During The Pandemic

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Springfield-Greene County Library
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The Springfield-Greene County Library will use newly received grant money to expand internet access and to purchase additional material for patrons.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said the Missouri State Library awarded the library district $50,000 to respond to coronavirus health and safety concerns.  The funds are part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and the Library Services and Technology Act.

Regina Cooper, executive director of the Springfield-Greene County Library District, said around $44,000 of that money will be used to purchase e-books and audiobooks.  The rest will be used to pay for service for an additional 20 hotspots.

"We have found that many people are using our virtual services now instead of actually coming back in to the library," said Cooper.  "We're assuming that they're being cautious and would prefer, you know, not to come back into the library."

The new material will give patrons the chance to read books at home without having to go into a library, according to Cooper.  And those without internet access at home can check out the hotspot devices through the drive-through.  They can use them for things like checking out library materials or for virtual visits with a healthcare provider.  The new hotspot devices will make the total number that the library district has available for patrons to check out to around 90.

The library district closed all library branches in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.  When it reopened them, there were changes that had to be made to try to keep both patrons and staff as safe as possible during the pandemic.  Cooper estimates they’ve spent around $12,000 so far on things like plexiglass barriers and cleaning supplies.  The district will apply for CARES Act money distributed through Greene County to recoup those costs as well as to pay for future expenses related to the coronavirus.

Cooper said they plan to keep some things they’ve added to reach out to patrons during the pandemic.  Those include a Cloud library app, which allows patrons to check out library materials on their smart phones, and they’re now using Square payment processing for fines and any library services that require a fee.