Photo courtesy of The Weirton Daily Times. Pictured: Donna Straney, library assistant at the Main Library.

The Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County recently added ILS Book Sanitizers to each of their branches with pandemic support funds. “The sterilizers were purchased with money from the CARES Act funding. The state’s Office of Budget and Management distributed funds to Ohio’s public libraries.” PLSJ has a total of 6 branches and an additional BookMobile Service.

“Our wait time for popular books and other library materials has been reduced.”

Librarian, PLSJ main branch

Check out their local news article here

The use of the book and media sanitizers allows their libraries to be as safe as possible while being more efficient in providing books to patrons. All items are sterilized while quarantine time is reduced from 3 days to just 30 seconds.

Watch their video here

Illiteracy rates have greatly increased in this season as resources for continued growth in literature have been far less accessible. Aiming for the quickest possible return of books and materials to circulation is more important than ever and the use of grants and funding is a great way to do it.

Per the World Literacy Foundation, the Covid 19 Pandemic is causing a catastrophic rise in illiteracy. Data shows large declines in early literacy and a drop in students meeting benchmarks. Major reductions in book and media circulation are leading to limited to little access to resources, pointing towards an urgent need to keep schools and libraries open. Then the question arises, how do we remain open and keep staff, patrons, and our communities SAFE?

With safety as a huge concern, public libraries across the country, as well as school libraries, are quarantining all materials for a minimum of 72 hours if sterilizing equipment is not available. While safety is the highest priority, the quarantine process poses a problem with book circulation, especially in high volume libraries. The addition of the sterilizers, not only increases reachability but enables the libraries to provide a higher quality of safety for both their staff and community.

Looking for funding options for improved safety and contactless solutions???

American Libraries and Museums Awarded $13.8 Million in IMLS CARES Act Grants. While resources are exhausted at this time, the good news is that they plan to award more. “For FY 2021, we urge Congress to provide full funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, including $42.7 million for the Office of Museum Services and $206 million for the administration of the Library Services and Technology Act. The IMLS is funded under the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill.” See the full document here or keep an eye out for upcoming IMLS funding announcements here.

In addition to IMLS CARES Act funding, information on CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund can be found here. Per their most recent update additional grant opportunities may be coming. “Information regarding the distribution of these funds is forthcoming and will be posted on this website when available.”

CARES Act funding is not the only option either, Library Grants is a great resource for current library grant offerings for both public libraries and school libraries. This blog provides a regularly updated list of opportunities along with a wealth of information and required deadlines. For instance, The American Library Association is currently taking applications for their second wave of Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries grant. “Up to 650 U.S. libraries in small and rural communities will receive $3,000, online professional development, and resources to tackle issues ranging from media literacy to COVID-19 safety to unemployment.” The 2nd application period ranges from January 4 – March 4, 2021.

Join Steubenville and hundreds of other Public, Academic and School Libraries in returning books and materials to circulation, quicker and safer with the ILS Sanitizers.