Mokena Community – Grant-Funded Library Enhancements

May 17, 2024

Programs & Staffing

Mokena Community Public Library

Amount Awarded: $157,854 | Project Status: Completed Spring 2023

Will County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocations empowered the Mokena Community Public Library District to offer curbside craft programs for patrons and to work towards returning to pre-pandemic staffing levels. The curbside crafts were offered an option for patrons who wanted to participate in library programming, but didn’t yet feel comfortable being in close proximity to others. Their increased staffing levels improved desk coverage and program offerings to the community.

The ARPA funding led to increased program offerings and desk coverage. The additional programming included monthly take-and-make kid crafts, one-on-one technology training, a seed library, walking book club, genealogy programs, book box program, Bingo, 65+ Valentines get together program, and more. They also now have more staff coverage at the customer service stations to expedite transactions and assistance.

Promoting Community

The Will County ARPA grant helped the Mokena Community Public Library District to increase their staffing levels to be closer to pre-pandemic levels. This additional staffing allowed them to offer more programs and more desk coverage, helping provide a crucial sense of community during a trying time. ARPA funding also assisted in funding their curbside take and make crafts.

“The Mokena Community Public Library District was so pleased that through the generous support of the ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) grant funding, the library was able to enhance our community engagement efforts significantly. This funding enabled us to increase staff levels and use this additional staff time to facilitate engaging programs and activities for members of the community.

During the unprecedented challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, our doors were closed to the public for many weeks. We understood the importance of continuity, especially for the children who enjoyed coming in for story time and craft sessions. While stories could be read virtually we knew (based on patron input) take-home craft kits were important for the children also. Hundreds of crafts a week had to be made and packaged to have available to be picked up.

With the increased staffing hours, we were able to expand our repertoire of educational and entertaining programs, particularly focusing on crafting activities for children. The craft materials included were a source of creative expression and skill development. By providing a variety of crafts, we aimed to cater to diverse interests and foster a sense of inclusivity within our community.

The ARPA grant funding was instrumental in bolstering our commitment to serving the needs and interests of our patrons. We are deeply grateful for the support, which has allowed us to further enrich the experiences of children and families in our community and strengthen the vital role of our library as a hub for learning, creativity, and community engagement. We look forward to continuing to utilize these resources effectively to promote literacy, learning, and personal growth among all members of our community.”

Cathy Palmer, Executive Director