Hennepin County Library is employing two liaisons with strong ties to the East African community in the Cedar Riverside neighborhood of Minneapolis to bring residents library services and mobile technology centers including laptops, tablets and wireless hotspots.
The Library’s liaisons will also offer trainings to build digital literacy and connect residents to cultural activities and needed employment, healthcare and legal resources.
The project is being paid for by a one-year, $96,912 grant from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) through Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funding from The Institute of Museum and Library Services, as well as by reallocating existing resources.
Friends of the Hennepin County Library, the Library’s nonprofit partner, was selected in July
by MDE to receive the LSTA grant in support of the Cedar Riverside Library Outreach Project. Friends of HCL’s mission is to enrich the resources and enhance the potential of Hennepin County Library.
“Younger residents of Cedar Riverside need safe spaces and engaging programs to help them feel hopeful and connected,” said Peter McLaughlin, 4th District Hennepin County Commissioner. “Older generations need help accessing technology and making connections with the broader community. These are needs we know our libraries can meet, both in the community and at our nearby Franklin, Minneapolis Central and Southeast locations.”
“In a community where more than one-third of residents come from another country, lack a
high school degree and live below the poverty line, trusted library liaisons working in accessible, communal spaces will be an important link to library resources for community members of all ages,” said Kristi Pearson, Friends of the Hennepin County Library Executive Director.
“Our liaisons care about this community and will work with residents to understand what they need most, from digital literacy to workforce development,” said Lois Langer Thompson, Hennepin County Library Director. “I am confident that with this grant, we can build trust, remove barriers, and connect more Cedar Riverside residents to library resources in the coming year.”
Look for more news on the Hennepin County Library website: www.hclib.org/about/news