On October 26th, 2021, we held a community conversation in the community room at Modeste Bedient Memorial Library. There was a good turnout, and many excellent ideas were discussed while enjoying pizza and soda provided by the library. Here is a summary of the write-up.
Each participant received the following:
- A drawstring library satchel containing the following:
- Brochures/fliers from the following internet providers: Empire, Spectrum, Frontier, Hughesnet and ViaSat
- Literature on the Emergency Broadband Benefit FCC program that helps families struggling to afford broadband internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic
- A handout listing the establishments in the community that provide free wifi to patrons
- Information regarding the Yates County ReConnect Project for construction of a gigabit capable fiber optic broadband network to reach unserved/underserved premises in our county.
- Free promotional items courtesy of Spectrum, Frontier and Hughesnet
- Contact information for state and local representatives for broadband advocacy.
- Envelopes and postage to use to contact community representatives for asking questions or advocating for better broadband access.
- Access to a laptop computer during the community conversation so that participants could enter their home address https://nysbroadband.ny.gov/resources/residential-broadband to determine who their internet providers were.
The following items were discussed during this community conversation:
- A tour of the library was given discussing the services that the library has to offer. Participants were introduced to the two new computers and two loanable hotspots purchased with the ALA grant monies.
- Discussion on what computer services the library should provide.
- Discussion on what is being done locally to provide equitable access to internet services in the community (Yates County ReConnect Project)
- Discussion on how to contact your local leaders and representatives for broadband advocacy.
- Discussion on who the local internet providers are.
Computer Services that participants proposed the library should consider developing and offering:
- Access to a paid subscription to ancestry.com on public computers
- “Tech Support” hour in the library
- Classes on various computer topics
- Add more public computers and loanable hotspots
- Printer with wifi printing capability
- Charging station for patron devices
- Add laptops for use with library equipment (Cricut) and for loaning out.
- A digital whiteboard and smart screen/TV for use in the community room
Discussion on ways to bridge the digital divide in the community:
- More public wifi hotspots
- Public drop-offs of technology donations so these devices can be repaired and reused by the community.
The Modeste Bedient Memorial Library in Branchport is looking forward to 2021 and increasing its services and offerings for all its patrons. The library is pleased to announce that it has secured funding and donations from various sources to meet this goal.
The library has received a donation of 220 brand new Juvenile and Young Adult books valued at $3,878, to add to its permanent collection. These books were donated by The Lisa Libraries, which donates new children’s books to small libraries and organizations that work with families in under-served areas. You can learn more about this worthy organization at https://lisalibraries.org.
The Pilcrow Foundation, a national non-profit public charity, provides a 2-to-1 match to rural public libraries that receive a grant through its Children’s Book Project and contribute $200-400 through local sponsors for the purchase of up to $1,200 worth of new, quality, hardcover children’s books. The library was awarded this grant and, through the generosity of its patrons, will be contributing the maximum $400 amount. You can learn more about the Pilcrow Foundation at https://thepilcrowfoundation.org.
This summer, the library is planning to develop a seed library stocked with several different seed varieties that will be free for patrons to check-out. This project is funded (in part) by a grant from the Foundation for Southern Tier Libraries which offers competitive grants to member libraries and reading centers in the Southern Tier Library System. This grant, in the amount of $1,500, will also be used to purchase gardening books for the library as well as a container gardening take-home kit giveaway. To learn more about the Foundation for Southern Tier Libraries please visit https://foundationforsoutherntierlibraries.org.
The American Library Association (ALA) has announced the recipients of nearly $1 million in funding for small and rural libraries, the second grant distribution as part of the association’s Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries initiative. The funding will enable libraries to lead community engagement efforts in more than 300 small and rural communities. The Modeste Bedient Memorial Library was awarded a $3,000 grant to lead a community discussion on the digital divide that exists in our region due to lack of equitable broadband services in outer lying areas. Grant monies will be used to purchase new computers for the library as well as hot spots which will be lent out to patrons.
The Gardener’s Supply Company is an employee-owned company that donates 8% of profits to non-profit programs that make the world a better place through gardening. The Modeste Bedient Memorial Library was awarded a $250 gift card to purchase some raised gardening beds for the library grounds.
The library is currently hosting a fundraiser to create a MakerSpace in the community room of the library. Through the MakerSpace, the youth in our community will be able to create, learn and explore (and have fun!) with many art and technology projects. The library is currently collaborating with the LyonSmith brewery to raise funds for a 3-D printer for the MakerSpace. The brewery, located at located at 2597 Assembly Avenue in Keuka Park, has generously offered to donate a dollar of every pint sold during every weekend in May to reach this goal. If you can’t make it to the brewery during this time and wish to donate, you may donate to the library directly in person, via the PayPal link on their website (www.branchportlibrary.org) or by US mail at 3699 Route 54A, Branchport, NY 14418.