The Illinois State Library has awarded close to half a million dollars in Project Next Generation grants to 29 libraries statewide.
The grants allow libraries to acquire technology and hire mentors for programs for at-risk youth. That programming is meant to introduce those children to technology and teach them life skills.
Rachel French, the Deputy Press Secretary in the Secretary of State’s Office, says some at-risk youth don’t have access to technology in their homes.
“By visiting libraries that do have computers and tablets and video cameras, they could learn about the technology and use that later in life,” French said.
Greg McCormick, the director of the Illinois State Library, adds that many of these at-risk students also might not have access to that technology at school.
“This allows them an introduction to this that will enhance their life skills in the future and something that they may take into the workforce,” McCormick said.
Funding for the grants comes from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Grant recipients include the Carbondale Library, the LaSalle Public Library, and the Oglesby Public Library District.
A full list of libraries receiving grants is available on the Secretary of State’s website.
The grant initiative started in 1999.