CARES PPE GRANT

PHOTO OF PPE SUPPLIES PURCHASED WITH CARES GRANT.

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) has awarded a $400 PPE grant to the Perkins Public Library to purchase personal protective equipment and supplies to keep staff and visitors safer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Perkins Library is one of 64 institutions to receive a grant from ODL courtesy of the federal CARES Act and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). A total of $60,000 was distributed by ODL to address the coronavirus concerns of public libraries, tribal libraries, tribal cultural centers, museums, and historic sites in the state.

Alison Bloyd, Library Director said “the funding will be used to provide disinfectant for high-touch surfaces, cleaning wipes for library materials, and hand sanitizer for staff and visitors.”

“Everyone has a role in keeping the community safe during this pandemic, so it’s important that we follow CDC guidelines as we operate the library,” Bloyd said. “This grant will provide supplies we need to reduce risk of exposure for our employees and visitors.”

Perkins Library is currently open and operating with restrictions in place Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. – noon. A walk up widow is available for anyone who prefers to not enter the building. Face masks are strongly encouraged and worn by all staff. Building visits are limited to 15 minutes for browsing and one hour for public computer use. All seating and children’s toys have been removed.

In developing the grant, ODL Director Melody Kellogg said institutions were surveyed about any hurdles they might face in returning to service during the pandemic.

The top concerns of libraries, museums, and other cultural institutions were a shortage of cleaning supplies and PPE equipment, fear on the part of staff and the public, and the challenge of enforcing social distancing and other best-health practices in their facilities.

“We developed the grant proposal to help address these concerns,” Kellogg said. “We were very fortunate in that we were able to provide some funding to all 64 of the eligible institutions that applied.”

The PPE grant is the first of two that will be available from ODL, with funding from IMLS and the CARES Act. The grants were designed to help the state’s important cultural institutions address two impacts of COVID-19: public health concerns, and the need to breach the digital divide and improve digital inclusion to better serve the public.

“The pandemic has thrown a spotlight on the digital divide in our state and nation,” Kellogg said. “At a time when, for safety reasons, we are depending more than ever on electronic communication, far too many of our fellow citizens don’t have the tools or access needed to take advantage of important services.”

Recipients of the Digital Inclusion Grants, totaling $291,320, will be announced later in July.

A complete list of Oklahoma’s 64 PPE Grant recipients is at: news.oklibshare.org/federal-funding/odl-awards-cares-act-ppe-grants-to-64-institutions.

The Perkins Public Library provides materials, information, technology and opportunities to enrich, empower, educate and entertain people of all ages and backgrounds.

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries is the official state library of Oklahoma. The agency serves the information and records management needs of state government, assists with public library development, coordinates library and information technology projects for the state, and serves the general public through its specialized collections.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services works to advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grant-making, research, and policy development.