County awards library grants

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Hispanics in the community may find a wider variety of books and resources in their native language at local libraries thanks to a quality of life initiative by county leaders.

In addition, students will soon enjoy greater computer access at libraries in the county, as well as a larger selection of DVDs and books on tape.

The Shelby County Commission awarded $62,000 to various museums and libraries as part of a Quality of Life Enrichment Grant Program.

The grant will help to bring Pelham Public Library’s collection up to standard, with about 1,000 extra volumes.

Columbiana Public Library will cater to juveniles with the purchase of children’s materials.

The Shelby County Historical Society and museum will expand its video equipment for the Ellis Room, to be used in conjunction with new audio equipment and projection screens.

The program funding amounts are awarded on an annual basis during each calendar year, and each program may receive up to $10,000.

County Manager Alex Dudchock said the Quality of Life Enrichment Grant Program is an opportunity for the county to cater to public interests.

&uot;Libraries and museums need to be capable of meeting demands,&uot; Dudchock said.

Also, County Commissioner Joel Bearden said the commission has made such initiatives a priority.

&uot;We have taken it on as an important part of our business,&uot; Bearden said.

According to Calera Public Library Director Janet Greathouse, the library is becoming a useful resource to the Hispanic community, and the money from this grant is a big boost.

Calera Public Library offers English as a Second Language classes to a group of about 20 students each month. Greathouse said the library had only a limited amount of material to help teach Hispanics to speak, read and write English.

&uot;We didn’t have very much to offer them,&uot; Greathouse said.

Now, the Calera Public Library will feature many of the same resources for Spanish-speakers and English-speakers. There will be a Spanish and English version of the book of the month.

Greathouse said that many Hispanics learn about the library through their children, and Shelby County is becoming a host to a growing number of Hispanics.

&uot;We knew that was a sector of our population that is growing,&uot; Greathouse said. &uot;I’m really excited because there really is a need for that.&uot;

During Monday night’s County Commission meeting, the following grants were awarded: Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum, $3,993.38; North Shelby Public Library, $10,000; Calera Public Library, $5,000; Helena Public Library, $5,000; Alabaster Public Library, $5,000; Vincent Public Library, $1,200; Parnell Memorial Library, $10,000; Pelham Public Library, $10,000; Shelby County Historical Society (museum and archives), $10,000; Columbiana Public Library, $2,000.

Some of the grants will be used to repair library resources, including reference books. Other funds will help replace outdated public access network computer equipment.

For application information for the Quality of Life Enrichment Grant Program, call the Shelby County Development Services office at 620-6650