CLIFTON — Money is coming to libraries in Graham and Greenlee counties, courtesy of the Arizona State Library, and some of that money is going for one of the most innovative library programs the state has ever seen.
Greenlee County is getting two grants. The first, for $4,000, will be used for the Duncan Public Library’s Enhanced Literacy Storytime program, while the other $18,445 grant is for the Greenlee County Library System’s program Heading to the Greenlee County Hills.
“When we applied for this grant, we talked about something that represented the county, not just the library,” said Greenlee County Librarian Karen Soohy.
“I talked with people on the Tourism Council and the Chamber of Commerce, and we kicked a few ideas back and forth. We said we wanted to think outside the box, then someone suggested we think outside the library.
“We decided to do backpacks that contain items for checkout, covering things you can do in Greenlee County, such as geocaching, rock hounding, birding and stargazing,” she continued. “We’re relating it to literacy and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), with programming for those areas, such as a story walk, where parents and children can walk a trail and there will be a story parents can read to their children at the various stops.
“It’s got a lot of cool ideas. I hope it’s successful.”
Soohy added that the program is receiving “a lot of support from the region,” including groups in Graham and Cochise counties that will come to Greenlee to help with the program.
The Safford City-Graham County Public Library is getting three grants, totaling $10,000. The first grant for $3,000 is for the program Expanding the Coders of Tomorrow, another $3,000 grant is the Fun with Math and Science program, and the final grant of $4,000 is for the program YA Knowledge is Power: Teen and Adult NF.
The Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records is a division of the Secretary of State, and awarded $800,000 in grants statewide.
“Libraries are listening to their communities and creating programs to meet the needs of the population,” said Secretary of State Michele Reagan in announcing the grants. “In addition to their traditional services, libraries are transforming, offering not only books, but adding programs to educate and engage all ages through customary, digital and social means. The libraries receiving awards this spring reflect the transformation taking place in libraries statewide.”