Surgoinsville library will ask community how it should spend $5,000 grant

Jeff Bobo • Apr 19, 2019 at 5:45 PM

SURGOINSVILLE — The Surgoinsville Public Library is expected to begin holding public meetings in May to ask the community how it should spend a $5,000 grant that was awarded earlier this month.

The town’s library was one of 15 public libraries that serve small U.S. communities that have been selected to participate in the Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces project led by the OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) in partnership with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries.

Hawkins County Library System Director Yvonne Woytovich and Surgoinsville branch manager Rachel Franklin will be overseeing the 15-month project.

Woytovich admitted to the Times News earlier this week, however, that she doesn’t know yet what that project will entail.

“It’s a 15 month process, and the first portion of the process which is going on right now is the learning phase, where everyone involved in the program is learning about community outreach and the goals of the grant program,” Woytovich said. “The second phase, which we’re entering into now, is going to be conducting community outreach. Through that outreach, we’ll be identifying needs and services that the library can provide for the community that we’re not already providing.”

Woytovich added, “Once we get that feedback, we narrow it down to things we can actually implement and then go back out into the community and see what is their priority. Then we put a plan together on how we want to invest the money. At this point, we don’t know where this journey is going to take us because it’s really about the community needs.”

This grant received 120 applications from 38 states. The selected libraries represent 15 states and serve communities ranging in size from 900 to 15,500 people.

After conducting community input, action planning, and prototyping, the libraries will create their projects using a $5,000 sub-grant toward materials.

Woytovich said she hopes to hear from people who don’t use the library to learn what it can do to meet their needs and encourage them to make use of the facility.

“Part of the process is getting to know the community so we can learn what we can do to meet their needs,” she added.