Ardmore Public Library Awarded CARES Act Grant to Respond to COVID-19

For Immediate Release
7/31/2020
Daniel Gibbs, Library Director
dgibbs@ardmorelibrary.org
580-223-8290

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) has awarded a $1,000 PPE grant to the Ardmore Public Library to help the library purchase personal protective equipment and supplies to keep staff and visitors safer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Ardmore Public Library is one of 64 institutions to receive a grant from ODL courtesy of the federal CARES Act and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). A total of $60,000 was distributed by ODL to address the coronavirus concerns of public libraries, tribal libraries, tribal cultural centers, museums, and historic sites in the state.

Director Daniel Gibbs said the funding will be used to provide masks, a handheld UV sterilizer, and sanitizing supplies for library staff and customers.

“It looks like we may be dealing with this virus for some time, so it’s very important that we follow CDC guidelines as we provide services to the public,” Mr. Gibbs said. “This grant will provide supplies we need to help reduce risk of exposure for our employees and customers.”

“Our mission is to serve our community, and we want to continue that mission in the safest way we can,” Mr. Gibbs said.

The Ardmore Public Library began curbside service the next day following closing in mid-March and reopened the first week in June to the public.  Library hours are Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.  There is a limit of 50 people in the building at a time.  Half of the public computers are available for a maximum of one hour. Much of the library seating has been removed to establish space for social distancing.  Curbside service remains available as well.  

In developing the grant, ODL Director Melody Kellogg said institutions were surveyed about any hurdles they might face in returning to service during the pandemic.

The top concerns of libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions were a shortage of cleaning supplies and PPE equipment, fear on the part of staff and the public, and the challenge of enforcing social distancing and other best-health practices in their facilities.

“We developed the grant proposal to help address these concerns,” Kellogg said. “We were very fortunate in that we were able to provide some funding to all 64 of the eligible institutions that applied.”

The PPE grant is the first of two that will be available from ODL, with funding from IMLS and the CARES Act. The grants were designed to help the state’s important cultural institutions address two impacts of COVID-19: public health concerns, and the need to breach the digital divide and improve digital inclusion to better serve the public.

“The pandemic has thrown a spotlight on the digital divide in our state and nation,” Kellogg said. “At a time when, for safety reasons, we are depending more than ever on electronic communication, far too many of our fellow citizens don’t have the tools or access needed to take advantage of important services.”

Recipients of the Digital Inclusion Grants, totaling $291,320, will be announced later in July.

A complete list of Oklahoma’s 64 PPE Grant recipients is at: news.oklibshare.org/federal-funding/odl-awards-cares-act-ppe-grants-to-64-institutions.

The Ardmore Public Library is a municipal public library serving citizens who live, work, or own property in Carter County, Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries is the official state library of Oklahoma. The agency serves the information and records management needs of state government, assists with public library development, coordinates library and information technology projects for the state, and serves the general public through its specialized collections.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services works to advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grant-making, research, and policy development.