Chapel Hill Public Library Awarded Major Grants to Expand Access and Engage Community
The State Library of North Carolina has announced that Chapel Hill Public Library (CHPL) has been awarded nearly $150,000 of competitive federal grant funds for a pair of projects. The first will allow the library to deploy an off-site library kiosk as a convenient, 24/7 alternative to a vehicular trip to the library. The second will create an online platform for local musicians to share their content and for library users to discover local music, past and present.
The off-site kiosk project aims at relieving the library’s most persistent problem: a chronic lack of parking. The grant, totaling $99,600, will fund a self-service station out in the community for users to pick up reserved items, a book return to accompany the station, and a vehicle to transport materials to and from the library.
By giving library users the option to pickup and return materials from a location out in the community, Library Systems Manager David Green says that the kiosk will significantly expand access to the library. “Most days, our parking lots are at capacity, which is a barrier to access for library users from every demographic group. By creating a new location for what we call our 'grab and go' customers – people who come here to drop off and pick up items using our self-service options – we expect to free up as many as 60 parking spots per day. That’s a huge improvement for a facility that averages more than 1,700 daily visitors."
The second grant of $49,500 will allow CHPL to design and build an open source platform that lets local musicians share their music. Anyone will be able to stream the music and listeners with library cards will be able to download it. The digital hub will enable users to discover local content and allow local musicians to reach new audiences.
Molly Luby, Special Projects Coordinator at Chapel Hill Public Library, says that this will create a local music collection that is quintessentially Chapel Hill. “First, we will work directly with local musicians to license albums and freely share their music. Second, we will partner with UNC-Chapel Hill to curate and make historical content such as concert posters, oral histories, and band biographies available.” Luby says there will be public programming associated with the project, including a concert series.
CHPL Director Susan Brown adds that these projects, while funded through federal sources, are supported locally as well. “We are so thankful to our Friends of the Library for providing matching funds for both of these projects. They understand the impact and importance of these projects and were happy to offer additional support.”Grant funds come from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (IMLS grant number LS-00-19-0034-19).