Marathon Public Library receives CARES Act grants

MARATHON — Marathon Public Library is the recipient of a Humanities Texas Relief grant and CARES grant from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

The funding will help launch new and modified programs with virtual and remote formats, such as a virtual Infant and Toddler program, Remote Family Summer Science Nights, virtual art program, virtual book club, and Remote STEM workshops.

Also, the grants will be used to expand internet-connected resources and services for community members like the new Wi-Fi hotspot lending program. The library serves as the only publicly available digital access point in the community. During the COVID-19 pandemic, residents have used our computers to file for unemployment, check the status of stimulus checks, create flyers for their businesses and register for COVID-19 testing.

“Many of our programs have switched to remote and virtual formats. We are grateful for these grants – as they have allowed us to modify and expand our programs and services so that we are able to continue to meet the needs of our community during this critical time,” said Dara Cavness, Marathon Public Library director.

This summer, Humanities Texas awarded over $1.1 million to 198 Texas nonprofits that suffered losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recipients include museums, libraries, preservation organizations and heritage and cultural centers, among many others.

These organizations offer historical and cultural programs that have significant impact within their communities. Humanities Texas aims to help these organizations remain vital in this difficult time.

“We are fortunate to have the opportunity to provide critical support to so many organizations across the state,” said Humanities Texas Executive Director Eric Lupfer. “Looking ahead, we will continue to seek ways to assist Texas cultural and educational institutions in surviving this crisis.”

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is awarding 38 grants to libraries throughout the state to support local efforts to respond to COVID-19 and increase digital inclusion throughout communities. This first cycle of the TSLAC CARES grant program provides emergency funding totaling $1,063,469 and comes from the federal appropriation made to the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

TSLAC CARES grants will fund community needs identified by Texas libraries for the programs, training and tools necessary to increase community access to vital digital technologies and services. Additionally, funds may be utilized for library initiatives that support prevention, preparation and response to the COVID-19 emergency. This reimbursement grant program will fund operating expenditures such as library supplies and materials, technology, furniture and contractual services.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the many ways libraries are more essential than ever in meeting local needs to stay connected and informed,” said Mark Smith, TSLAC director and state librarian. “We are grateful to the IMLS and the federal government for providing this assistance to libraries across Texas as they support their communities in these challenging times.”

Funding for the grants has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the CARES Act economic stabilization plan and from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and Texas State Library and Archives Commission.