Jackson Parish Library Receives National Grants for Small and Rural Libraries

$20,000 in Grants Will Add Inclusive Equipment to the Jackson Parish Library Parks in Jonesboro and Chatham for Residents with Disabilities

Jonesboro, LA — The Jackson Parish Library branches in Jonesboro and Chatham have been selected as 2 of the 240 libraries across the nation to participate in Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities, an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that provides community engagement and accessibility resources to small and rural libraries to help them better serve people with disabilities. Each branch applied for and received $10,000 and will use the funds to acquire inclusive equipment to be installed in a park setting next to the respective branches. The awards in Jackson Parish account for two of three given in the state of Louisiana.

A full list can be found here:

The Parents/Caregivers of Exceptional Children is a parish-wide support group for parents and caregivers of special needs that meets once a month. Group leader Sabrina Villarreal stated, “There is not a place in our parish that is inclusive and most families do not have the luxury of traveling to another parish.”jpl logo

The Jackson Parish Library branches lie in the heart of our rural communities and are the ideal places for inclusive library parks. These parks will serve as a multigenerational meeting area for all regardless of age or disability.

This competitive award of $10,000 will add equipment from the Miracle Museum collection to the new Jackson Parish Library Park in Jonesboro. These pieces are sensory-based playground equipment that is designed with wheelchair accessibility to ensure that everyone is given the chance to explore the environment.

The $10,000 grant awarded to the Chatham branch will be used to create an inclusive and immersive music and butterfly park. Raised gardens will provide native flora to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Musical instruments, such as the PercussionPlay Rainbow Trio Ensemble of Bongos, Chime, and Metallophone, and a Sunflower Petal Drum will be added for the enjoyment of everyone.

“We are so honored to have been chosen for this amazing opportunity,” said Library Director Floyd Knox. “This grant will allow our library to get to know our residents with disabilities better. It will help us improve our services to ensure this population feels welcome and comfortable in our space.”

As part of the grants, Jackson Parish Library staff will take online courses in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to library work today. Staff will then host a public planning event and conversation with the residents of each community about improving services, facilities, and programs for people with disabilities.

If you are interested in getting involved or taking part in the conversation, please contact Angela http://www.jacksonparishlib.orgWalsworth at 318-259-5697 in Jonesboro or Phyllis Moore at 318-249-2980 in Chatham. Keep up with updates on our projects at www.jacksonparishlib.org.

Since 2014, ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has re-imagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with
civic leaders, library trustees, and staff.

“Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL).”

“The Jackson Parish Library is a service institution that seeks to inform, educate, entertain, and culturally enrich the lives of all people, from early childhood to senior citizens, through the use of books and other materials, technological innovations, facilities, and professional services.”

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