The Monroe County Public Library system was awarded a record-breaking American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant for $975,469. This is the greatest amount awarded to a Florida library and the highest ever bestowed to Monroe's libraries. The 100 percent federally-funded grant includes a suite of technology and equipment solutions for library patrons to confidently access services while expanding access to digital, print, and online information services.
"Our community saw the robust technology implemented at the new Marathon library and implored us to expand it Keyswide," said Library Director Kimberly Matthews. "This ambitious grant realizes a renaissance in library technology and user experience."
The State Library Council ranked 63 applications applying for $6.7 million in Florida ARPA funds. Matthews, Assistant Director Anne Layton Rice, and Business Manager Lisa Booker wrote the grant.
Enhanced technology can include self-checkout, outdoor lockers for hold pickup, contact-free retrieval of DVDs, and internet browsing and computing needs using laptops and tablets for social distancing.
"The library envisions a comfortable, inclusive, and empowering library environment for all Florida Keys communities," said Matthews. "Locations are also being scouted to place 24-hour library kiosks to reach underserved islands father from the County's five library locations."
The Florida ARPA Grant Program supports libraries responding directly to the pandemic community needs via equitable digital and in-person library services approaches. The program is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Division of Library and Information Services under the Florida Department of State.
To learn more about library locations and services, visit www.keyslibraries.org.