Decorah Library among grant honorees

Decorah Public Library has been selected as one of 310 libraries nationwide to participate in round two of Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities, an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that provides community engagement and accessibility resources to small and rural libraries to help them better serve people with disabilities.

The competitive award comes with a $10,000 grant designed to help the library update existing automatic door openers at public entrances and add additional automatic openers to lower-level restrooms.

“We are pleased to be chosen for this amazing opportunity, thanks to a successful grant application written by the library’s Technology & Facilities Manager Jon Pankow” said Library Director Kristin Torresdal “This grant will allow our library to get to know residents with disabilities better. It will help us improve library access and ensure that our space feels welcoming and comfortable to all.”

In the announcement on the local library’s website, it was noted that as part of the grant, Decorah Public Library staff will take an online course in how to facilitate conversations, a skill vital to library work today. Staff will then host a community conversation with residents about accessibility to library facilities and services and use the grant funds to install automatic door openers.

Those interested in taking part in the community conversation are asked to contact Jon Pankow by emailing jpankow@decorahlibrary.org or calling 563-382-3717.

Since 2014, ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has re-imagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees and staff.

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