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School libraries get state $$$

Libraries in six Bureau County school districts will be getting a little financial boost, thanks to some more money coming from the state.

On Friday, Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White announced the Fiscal Year 2012 School District Library Program Grants, which awarded nearly $1.4 million to 648 Illinois public school districts.

“As a former public school teacher and administrator, I know our school libraries are very important in helping students learn and prepare themselves for the future,” White said. “Illinois was the first state to implement a school district grant program, and I’m pleased that we can continue to provide school libraries with some of the financial resources they need to produce well-educated students.”

Six Bureau County districts were awarded more than $2,800 to fund the acquisition of library materials to support reading for academics and enjoyment, library subscriptions to electronic resources, or improved technology to support student research.

“Receiving the Illinois Per Capita Library Grant allows our school to purchase additional books for our students,” said Sharon Sweger, superintendent for both the Ohio Grade and High School districts. “One hundred dollars per district may sound small but the excitement of the students picking up and reading a new book translates to learning.”

Actually, the Ohio districts, which each received $100, received proportionally more money than the larger districts in the state.

This year the state legislature authorized a 78 cents per pupil expenditure for each school, with $100 being the lowest amount awarded.

Also receiving funds were the Bureau Valley School District - $851.99; Princeton Elementary School District - $873.04; Princeton High School District - $490.31; and the Spring Valley Elementary School District - $427.95.

Renee Kozeal, Princeton High School librarian, is grateful for the funds.

“It’s not a huge amount,” she said. “But it’s an absolute help.”

Kozeal said she will use the money to pay for the library’s subscription to various databases which help students with research projects. The databases are to various periodicals, scholarly articles, web links and other things the students can use to research.

“The databases are a key component of our library program,” she said.

Sharon Peterson, Bureau Valley librarian, is also very appreciative of the money her district will receive.

“It is a great thing,” she said. “When the budget is tight, it’s good to know this money is coming.”

Peterson said the grant application is very straightforward, and it doesn’t take a lot of time to complete.

“If the money is awarded, it’s one of the easiest grant applications to write,” she said.

Bureau Valley will divide the money among the various buildings, and Peterson said she will use the high school’s portion to buy the award-winning books she doesn’t already have on the shelves.

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