Washington Adventist University’s Theofield G. Weis Library was recently awarded a $30,000 grant from the American Library Association (ALA). In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries were under dire pressure due to budget cuts, closures, and other uncontrollable losses. These hardships have made it difficult for libraries to continue to serve their communities to the best of their ability. In response to the uncertainties of the pandemic, ALA announced the ALA COVID Library Relief Fund in early April this year and thousands of libraries across the United States applied for the chance to receive grants between $30,000 to $50,000 to support library services and management.
The American Library Association is the world’s oldest and largest national library association. Since 1876, ALA has represented and advocated for libraries throughout the nation, providing resources to help libraries and library professionals better help their communities through necessary programs and services that supplement learning possibilities and access to information technologies. The ALA COVID Library Relief Fund specifically targeted academic, public, school, and tribal libraries that serve minority populations or underserved populations with no available access to the internet or other information resources. In June, ALA announced the distribution of $1.25 million to the chosen 34 recipients of the ALA COVID Library Relief Fund, including the Theofield G. Weis Library for $30,000 in emergency relief funds.
The goal for the grant is to provide Weis Library with equipment to expand the computer lab space. Currently, there is a limited amount of computer stations available to effectively accommodate and engage larger hands-on library or bibliographic instruction classes, class research visits, training sessions, and individual or group studies. Providing the library with new computers and furniture to set up a new lab space will meet that challenge, and allow the library to host more activities for students and the community. Purchasing a new lectern and smart TV will also open up space for presentations, meetings, and departmental training.
As the Fall semester draws close, the next steps for Weis Library are to identify and order 24 new computers and the needed equipment and furniture to create the additional lab space. The Weis Library’s mission has always been to support the Washington Adventist University community by providing access to information resources and services that will allow students, faculty, and staff to excel in their education and service. With the awarding of the ALA grant, the library will be able to recover and continue building towards that mission.