Brenda Miner

Johnson Learning Commons Receives National Grant for Small and Rural Libraries

$3,000 Grant Will Help the Library Work with Proprietors to Promote Small Businesses

2021-04-14 00:00:00

[April 14, 2021 | Mena, Ark.] — Johnson Learning Commons located on the campus of UA Rich Mountain has been selected as one of 200 libraries to participate in Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries, an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that helps library workers better serve their small and rural communities. The competitive award comes with a $3,000 grant that will help the library showcase local small businesses. More than 300 libraries applied for the grant, according to ALA.

 “We are so excited to have been chosen for this amazing opportunity,” said Library Director Brenda Miner. “This grant will allow our library to get to know our small business owners better and help us build a positive relationship for our community.”

As a part of the grant, Johnson Learning Commons staff will take an online course in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to library work today. Staff will then host a conversation with small business owners and residents to determine avenues in which JLC may provide support.

 “Many of the local artists rely on tourists for their customer base. Due to COVID-19, festivals were canceled, and there has been an overall decline in the tourism industry for our area. By reaching out to this community of small business owners, Johnson Learning Commons wants to find ways to support these local artists and proprietors,” said Library Director Brenda Miner.

 If you are interested in getting involved or taking part in the conversation, you are encouraged to attend a meeting in the Ouachita Center on the campus of UA Rich Mountain on May 18 at 3 pm. Or you may contact Brenda Miner at 479.394.7622, ext. 1370 or for more information.

Since 2014, ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has re-imagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees, and staff.

Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL).