Grosse Pointe Public Library receives CARES grant

By: Maria Allard | Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 8, 2020

 Grosse Pointe Public Library page Harper Wildern, of Grosse Pointe Park, sits in the new patio area of the Central Branch in Grosse Pointe Farms that will have Wi-Fi for patrons. Seating and landscaping are yet to be completed.

Grosse Pointe Public Library page Harper Wildern, of Grosse Pointe Park, sits in the new patio area of the Central Branch in Grosse Pointe Farms that will have Wi-Fi for patrons. Seating and landscaping are yet to be completed.

Photo by Deb Jacques

 These stickers were purchased with part of the $6,100 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act grant for the Grosse Pointe Public Library.

These stickers were purchased with part of the $6,100 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act grant for the Grosse Pointe Public Library.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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GROSSE POINTE WOODS/FARMS/PARK — The Library of Michigan — through the Institute of Museum and Library Services — has awarded the Grosse Pointe Public Library a $6,100 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act grant.

In June, GPPL Operations Manager Kim Hart and Technology Manager Steve French applied for the grant. Staff learned July 6 that the library would receive the $6,100 in grant money. Since that time, staff has purchased personal protective equipment for $1,100 and used $5,000 to acquire 12 additional Chromebook laptop computers and seven Wi-Fi access points.

There are three GPPL branches: Central is located at 10 Kercheval Ave. in Grosse Pointe Farms; Ewald is located at 15175 E. Jefferson Ave. in Grosse Pointe Park; and Woods is located at 20680 Mack Ave. in Grosse Pointe Woods. All three branches have been closed since mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $1,100 portion of the grant was used to purchase plexiglass shields for all three branches. The plexiglass will be installed at the service and reference desks as safety barriers between patrons and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Library Director Jessica Keyser, the Chromebooks have been on backorder for such a long time that staff is looking into purchasing tablets or laptops instead.

“Right now, (the computers) are for use in the library only,” Keyser said, adding that there has been discussion about allowing community members to possibly check them out of the library. “We are exploring our options.”

“The Wi-Fi access point is a little device that will expand our broadband to the outside of the library,” Keyser said. “People can log into Wi-Fi from outside the library and from the parking lot.”

Patrons also will be able to access Wi-Fi by sitting in the new outdoor community plaza at the Central Branch once construction is completed. The Wi-Fi access points have been installed at Woods and Central, but not yet at Ewald. Staff members were pleased when they learned the library received the CARES grant.

“We’re very grateful for anything we can do to improve the digital inclusion for the community and make it safer for our staff and our patrons,” Keyser said.

While several other library branches, including St. Clair Shores and Center Line have reopened, the Grosse Pointe branches remain closed. There is no date yet as to when the branches will reopen.

“It’s an ongoing discussion. We miss our patrons very much,” Keyser said. “Across the board, everyone who works here enjoys people and has a calling for service. It’s challenging not to have face-to-face interactions.”

But services are still available at this time.

“We’re still seeing people, just in different ways,” Keyser said. “Curbside pickup, virtual and email.”

With curbside pickup, customers can contact the library by phone, place items on hold and pick them up. For more information, call the library on its reference hotline number at (313) 389-6212. Items also can be placed on hold at the library’s website, grosse pointelibrary.org.

“We know some libraries have begun opening their doors to the public,” Keyser said. However, Grosse Pointe is staying closed to keep everyone “as safe as possible.”

“We are monitoring the (COVID-19) numbers,” she said. “If we were to have another outbreak, we wouldn’t be able to have curbside. We would rather be able to offer curbside than no service.”

The Friends of the Grosse Pointe Public Library also donated funds for the purchase of face masks, visors and curbside pickup bags.

According to the website www.imls.gov, the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ vision is to advance, support and empower America’s museums, libraries and related organizations through grantmaking, research and policy development.

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