There’s no cohesive way to describe what the recent appropriation of $32,367 to the Kenai Library will purchase, but the hodgepodge of items will address several community needs.
During the last Kenai City Council meeting, members appropriated a Tier 1 grant from the Rasmuson Foundation, another $10,000 from the Friends of the Library and $1,000 from the Totem Tracers genealogical group which funded furniture, software and hardware to round out the library’s collection.
“Our biggest problem here is some of this stuff doesn’t actually cost that much except that shipping costs a fortune to get here,” said Mary Jo Joiner, director of the Kenai Community Library.
The Rasmuson Foundation is a foundation that supports individuals and non-profit organizations in Alaska.
Tier 1 grants from the Rasumson foundation have also gone to organizations like the Challenger Learning Center and the Triumvirate Theatre, totalling more than $2.4 million statewide in 2013.
Funds from Totem Tracers will help pay for a new Scan Pro — essentially a microfilm reading machine that allows its users to print and email items off of the film.
Also on the list of items to purchase are more book carts for shelving.
“We have these little ones that we got when we moved into the library and everybody loves them because they’re awesome,” Joiner said. “We just noticed that volunteers and staff are much more happy, all the stuff is shelved all the time because people like those little carts.
Patrons of the library also seemed to enjoy a book display table set up on the Fidalgo Avenue side of the library, Joiner said. So grant money will fund a new book display to go in the lobby of the building.
A sound system will be installed for the meeting rooms and library staff will soon have mobile circulation applications.
“So staff can walk around with an iPad or an iTouch and check people out in the stacks,” Joiner said.
Joiner said the library has used Rasmuson funds to provide technology to patrons in the past.
“The last one we got was about three or four years ago, right before we started construction on this building to do the expansion and we have those mini-laptops that people can use in the building,” she said.
Funding from the Friends of the Library will be used to buy a self-checkout area that Joiner said could be a boon for some patrons.
“A lot of people don’t necessarily want to check out things on medical topics or books on divorce or problems in the home at the front where staff is going to see them,” Joiner said. “People feel funny about it... now they can check things out without people noticing that you’re taking out a book on cancer.”
Reach Rashah McChesney at firstname.lastname@example.org