When you think about it, $75,000 is a fairly spectacular-sized grant — a very positive "Atta-Boy" from the U. S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Not a bad accomplishment at all for “Gateway to Libraries," the regional library initiative of Jacksonville's A Circle of Ten, Inc. Network.
This marks the first time a non-library nonprofit partnering with libraries has been awarded such funds, officials said. The project is facilitated by Peggy Lustig, regional literacy director of Gateway to Libraries and Gateway to American Opportunities.
The regional library has partnered in this program with libraries in Cherokee County, Wood County and Camp County. But it's just the tip of the iceberg with Jacksonville's "Circle of Ten" nonprofit network, officials said.
The network as a whole consists of thousands of staff and volunteers from “non-profit agencies, churches, schools, hospitals, colleges, businesses and municipalities” in need of training and support services.
For instance, C10's small business incubator program is geared toward hosting small, nonprofit, rural East Texas agencies that truly need the space to operate.
Back to the $75,000 grant, it certainly goes a long way toward an institution that has been a hallmark of civilization since the fabled days of the library of Alexandria, according to State Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches.
"They represent a society's dedication to education and the never-ending search for truth and knowledge," Clardy said in a C10 release. "In today's information age, it's vitally important that communities have access to the resources that these grants provide. I applaud the successful efforts of the Gateway to Libraries program in promoting literacy."
The library initiative strives to increase the capacity of rural libraries in Texas to include free adult literacy classes that include “English as a Second Language” Classes, GED Preparation Classes and Family Bilingual Literacy Sessions.
"Referral partners distribute the class announcements to their clients and class schedules will also be included in area newspapers and organizations event calendars," according to the release.
The partners in the "Gateway to Libraries" program include Parents as Teachers-ACCESS, Catholic Charities East Texas Diocese of Tyler, and the Region 7 Education Service Center-Head Start Program.
Martha Dinwiddie, Bullard Library Board Secretary, said in the release her town is happy to partner with the "Gateway to Libraries” initiative once more.
"We want individuals and families that can benefit from the adult literacy classes and bilingual family literacy sessions to register and attend the classes at the Bullard Library," she said. "GED and ESL classes are set for Tuesdays at the Bullard Community Library.”
The adult literacy classes start in October.
Adults interested in the ESL, GED prep and/or Family Bilingual Literacy Session should visit any of the partnering library sites and sign-up at the library’s circulation desk.
For additional information or partnering opportunities call “Gateway to Libraries” staff at (903) 589-6900 or access the website: http://www.virtual-village.org.
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- Godspeed, Father