Del. libraries to receive $2.8 million

    Thanks to the stimulus money, every library in Delaware will get much-needed funding for things like computers, learning labs and better internet connection.

    Coming soon to a Delaware library near you: New technology and services to help residents find jobs and improve education.

    State officials say the state’s 32 libraries will share a $1.9 million federal stimulus grant from the U.S. Commerce Department’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. The libraries will also receive $900,000 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    “These new services will make our libraries an even more valuable resource for people trying to equip themselves for a changing job market,” said Gov. Jack Markell.

    The money will create specialized computer centers in four major libraries to improve workforce skills, assist with job searches and provide adult education. Those same services will be delivered electronically to all libraries.

    “This means that all of the libraries will be given some support and assistance,” said Dover Public Library Director Margie Cyr.

    Cyr says the grant comes at a time when more people than ever are relying on their local library for computer time.

    “All of the libraries have been struggling trying to meet the needs of so many people that have been searching for jobs,” Cyr said.

    The grant will be used to upgrade public computer centers at each library, to deploy additional new computers, improve internet access speeds and reduce waiting periods for library computers.

    “We’re here to serve the people and we need to be able to meet their needs whatever they are,” Cyr said. “And right now the need is for employment.”

    The computer centers at the Dover, Georgetown, Seaford and Wilmington libraries will become job/learning labs focused specifically on the needs of the unemployed, with specialized training for resume building, job search and interview skills. Spanish-language training programs will be conducted in Wilmington.

    The approximately half a million people With Delaware library cards will be able to access the new services.

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