In an unanimous vote, the Stillwater Public Library Board approved the acceptance of a $25,000 eMedia grant at its meeting Tuesday.
The grant, offered by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, will be used to purchase downloadable content, accessible on the Oklahoma Virtual Library.
The Oklahoma Virtual Library is a consortium of 80 libraries across the state that share resources. The funding was specifically offered to Stillwater Public Library for its role as administrator of the consortium. As administrator, the library directs funds and makes purchases on behalf of all libraries in the group.
Board member Andrea Yough said the corporation is beneficial in a give-and-take relationship between libraries.
“I’ve lived in a lot of different places, some with libraries that have very little manpower or resources,” Yough said. “What’s so beneficial about a corporation is that the sum of the parts is greater than the individual parts, and that’s what we see with the virtual library.”
The grant was also described as a “meaningful opportunity” to enrich the lives of the public by Chair Robin Cornwell. “People can read books on their e-readers,” Cornwell said. “My husband listens to audiobooks when he works out. It’s great for our library, and it’s great for libraries around Oklahoma.”
Library Director Stacy Delano said the amount of the grant is more than double what the library’s budget allocates for downloadable content per fiscal year.
“It’s typically more expensive [to buy in ebook format],” Delano said. “Right now, it’s not a good atmosphere for libraries attempting to purchase books from publishers in ebook format, which is why we’re exceptionally happy to have this funding. We wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”
Since the grant is over $10,000, Delano is required to request approval from the City Council at its next meeting on Monday.
“It takes jumping through some of these procedural hoops to accept funding,” Delano said. “It’s certainly worth it at the end of the day to be able to provide that type of money to buy books for our patrons.”
More grant money is also a possibility, Delano told the board. The Department of Libraries will meet at the Oklahoma Library Association in April to discuss up to $50,000 more in funding.
Board member Gary Stanton, who moved the motion to accept, isn’t surprised at the undivided vote.
“Any grant we get will improve services to the public, and that’s what the board is all about,” Stanton said. “We want to get grants and get them approved. Anything extra we can do to serve the community.”