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Libraries: More than $16,000

Four Bureau County libraries are among the 230 Illinois libraries to receive “Back to Books” grants from the state of Illinois.

Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White made the announcement last week, saying the 230 grants total more than $1 million.

Bureau County recipients are Ladd Public Library District which received a $5,000 grant; Bureau Valley Community School District, $4,552; Princeton Public Library, $2,500; and the Richard A. Mautino Memorial Library in Spring Valley, $4,475.

“I am pleased to be able to award these grants that will allow library-users to be better educated and entertained,” White said. “Our libraries perform so many essential tasks, but at their core, what our libraries do best is make books and other materials available to patrons.”

Julie Weyland, director of the Princeton Public Library, said she’s excited to receive this grant, which will be used to enhance the library’s graphic novel collection.

Graphic novels are those done in the comic book style, Weyland said. There are a number of different genres which have incorporated that style of story telling, she said.

Graphic novels are a good way to attract people who may not do a lot of reading. Classics have been put into the graphic novel style. One graphic novel, “Maus” by American cartoonist Art Spiegleman has won a Pulitzer, she said.

A lot of the Princeton library’s current collection of graphic novels have come from personal donations from the public, Weyland said, adding those books are circulating, which shows there is an interest in the community.

Other neighboring libraries to receive “Back to Books” grants are Putnam County Public Library District in Hennepin, $4,878; Peru Public Library, $3,000; and LaSalle Public Library, $5,000.

In announcing the area recipients from his district last week, State Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) said libraries are an essential part of the community, and it is important for libraries to keep up in the fast-paced world. These grants will be very useful in helping bring new books and educational materials to their communities that may not have been able to be purchased otherwise, he said.

The “Back to Books” grants ranged from $2,500 to $5,000 per library and were made possible by a combination of funds from the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services and state of Illinois library funds, White said.

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