Wednesday, July 9, 2014 || By Michael Romain
The Maywood Public Library has been awarded $61,000 through the state’s Eliminate the Digital Divide grant program. The grant, which was awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) last month, is designed to provide funding of up to “$75,000 to plan, establish, administer and expand Community Technology Centers (CTC’s) and to support basic computer literacy training programs,” according to the Secretary of State’s website.
Entities that serve as CTC’s according to the grant’s requirements include “public hospitals, libraries, park districts, state educational agencies, local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, public and private nonprofit or for-profit educational organizations. Additionally, a CTC must provide at least twelve (12) hours of general computer access and basic computer literacy training services to the public each week.”
Eligible CTC’s must be “located in and serving communities where: 1) Not less than 40 percent of students are eligible for a free or reduced price lunch under the National School Lunch Statistics; or 2) Not less than 30 percent of students are eligible for a free lunch under the National School Lunch Statistics.”
In five years, the grant program has invested $23 million in 256 locations across the state and has funded the training of 39,000 individuals each year in the area of technology literacy, according to statistics provided by DCEO.
According to a 2009 U.S. Census Bureau survey, 31 percent of American households and 43 percent of minority households don’t use internet at home and are thus reliant on CTC’s such as the Maywood Public Library.
This is the second time that the Maywood Public Library has been awarded the Eliminate the Digital Divide grant. In 2011, it was awarded about $34,000, based on a search conducted through DCEO’s online grant tracker. At press time, Maywood Public Library officials could not be reached for comment. VFP