CLEVELAND, Miss. — The Roberts-LaForge Library has been selected as one of 240 libraries to participate in Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities, an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that provides community engagement and accessibility resources to small and rural libraries to help them better serve people with disabilities.
The competitive award comes with a $10,000 grant to help the library obtain accessibility kits, host community conversations, and train staff in essential accommodations.
“We are so proud to be chosen for this amazing opportunity, especially as only two libraries were selected in Mississippi,” said project director Fawn Ussery. “This grant will help us improve our services to ensure that our population with disabilities feels welcome and comfortable in our space.”
As part of the grant, library faculty and staff will take an online course on accommodating different needs and then host a conversation with the community about their specific accessibility requests. The grant funds will be used to address those needs and provide assistive tools that can be checked out.
As accessible education empowers students with disabilities, this project aims to make information readily available and easy to digest for all students.
Since 2014, ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has re-imagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees and staff.