A group of seven Northwoods libraries has been selected to receive one of 200 nationwide library grants for the American Library Association’s American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries opportunity, an emergency relief program to assist libraries that have been adversely affected by the pandemic. Libraries in Boulder Junction, Lac du Flambeau, Manitowish Waters, Mercer, Minocqua, Presque Isle, and Winchester will use the funding to support their annual Northwoods Book Festival author event series.
With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, these seven libraries will use funds to anchor themselves in the community as strong humanities institutions. The competitive award comes with a $10,000 grant that will help deliver excellent programs and services related to culture, history, literature, and other humanities subjects.
More than 370 libraries applied for the grant, according to ALA. View the full list of selected libraries.
The participating libraries, selected through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process, include public libraries, academic/college libraries, K-12 libraries, and tribal, special and prison libraries. The recipients represent 45 states and Puerto Rico and serve communities ranging in size from 642 residents in Weir, Kansas, to the city of Los Angeles. Libraries were chosen with an emphasis on reaching historically underserved and/or rural communities.
“We are so proud to be chosen for this opportunity,” said Mercer Public Library director Teresa Schmidt. “This grant will help our libraries provide enriching humanities programming through the Northwoods Book Festival this summer as we come out of the pandemic.”
Since 2016, the Northwoods Book Festival has been uniting libraries in the northwoods to provide a series of author programming for local residents and visitors. The theme for the 2022 Northwoods Book Festival is “Open Books, Open Minds,” and the libraries in Boulder Junction, Lac du Flambeau, Manitowish Waters, Mercer, Minocqua, Presque Isle, and Winchester will invite authors to share their life experiences with us. Events will be scheduled from June through August.
“We chose the theme ‘Open Books, Open Minds’ for the 2022 Northwoods Book Festival to broaden our communities’ perspectives and create new experiences for our library patrons,” said Boulder Junction Public Library Director, Cherie Sanderson. “By bringing in authors from a variety of backgrounds, we hope to increase awareness of cultural and social issues that exist not only in Wisconsin, but around our world.”
To learn more about the Northwoods Book Festival and the libraries’ plans for the grant, visit www.northwoodsbookfest.org.
“Libraries have faced significant hardships throughout the pandemic —from budget cuts to staff furloughs to building closures — especially in our communities of the greatest need,” said ALA President Patty Wong. “This crucial support from NEH will enable our beloved institutions, and the dedicated people who run them, to rebuild and emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.”
American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The Boulder Junction Public Library, Ben Guthrie Lac du Flambeau Public Library, Frank B. Koller Memorial Library in Manitowish Waters, Mercer Public Library, Minocqua Public Library, Presque Isle Community Library, and Winchester Public Library serve residents and visitors in Iron, Oneida, and Vilas Counties, Wisconsin. They are members of the Northern Waters Library Service and Wisconsin Valley Library Service.