Ryanna Thurman (right) speaks to a library employee at the Soldotna Public Library on Thursday, March 25 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Ryanna Thurman (right) speaks to a library employee at the Soldotna Public Library on Thursday, March 25 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Soldotna library seeks OK for grant fund purchases

The funds are made available under the federal American Rescue Plan Act

The Joyce K. Carver Memorial Soldotna Public Library would like to use roughly $25,000 in grant funds for Chromebook computers and materials, according to legislation that will be up for consideration by the Soldotna City Council during their Dec. 1 meeting.

The funds are made available under the federal American Rescue Plan Act through Alaska State Libraries, Archives and Museums (LAM), a division under the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. LAM received about $2.16 million under ARPA through the Institute of Museum and Library Services for “pandemic response and recovery,” according to LAM.

Two types of grants were made available: the Easy ARPA Grant and the ARPA Project Grant. The Soldotna Public Library received both, with potential projects outlined in memos from Soldotna City Librarian Rachel Nash to the city council.

Under the project grant program, the library received $18,770, $11,270 of which will be used to purchase furniture and equipment including Chromebooks and $7,500 of which will be used to buy services, such as Chromebook management software.

Under the Easy ARPA program, the library received $6,000, $3,500 of which will be used to purchase supplies and equipment for the library’s COVID-19 response and $2,500 of which will be used to buy books and other physical materials.

Easy ARPA Grants could be used to buy supplies and equipment that respond to COVID-19 impacts up to $3,500 per institution, with an additional $2,500 for materials. ARPA Project Grants could be used for “larger projects” that also respond to COVID-19 impacts, with a maximum grant award amount of $40,000.

The grants are the latest that the library has taken advantage of throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Hold lockers were installed earlier this year and allow patrons to pick up library items that they have on hold even if the building is closed. The library also launched the “Soldotna Self-Checkout” app from MeeScan in 2020, which lets people check out library materials from a mobile device.

Both of those initiatives were made possible with federal COVID-19 relief funds made available under the CARES Act.

If the city council approves the introduction of legislation accepting the ARPA funds during their Dec. 1 meeting, a public hearing and final vote will be on Dec. 15. Nash said via email Wednesday that expects the funds to be appropriated in January of 2022.

More information about the grant programs can be found on the Alaska State Libraries, Archives and Museums website at lam.alaska.gov/arpa/home.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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