Skip to main content

County Awards $72,000 to Libraries to Bridge Digital Divide

Published: 5/11/2020

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus, Communications Director

(845) 486-2000

Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro today announced $72,015 in funding has been awarded to 11 libraries through a special allocation to the County's Agency Partner Grant (APG) program. The funding awarded through this grant is specifically aimed at bridging the digital divide and addressing technology barriers to literacy, early reading, literacy for those seeking jobs and English as a Second Language (ESL).

Funding for Dutchess Reads: Bridging the Digital Divide was made available by the Dutchess County Legislature through the 2020 budget process. The Legislature recognized the wide range of services provided by public libraries and the financial constraints associated with maintaining and advancing their offerings, while keeping up with demographic transformations and technological advances.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Today more than ever, as we maneuver through the uncharted territory of the COVID-19 pandemic, we see the importance technology has on our ability to learn, work and remain connected to one another. This grant will, in part, expand access to the internet to 63 households through hotspot lending programs that will be made available throughout the county. We thank the Dutchess County Legislature for its forward thinking to make this funding available to help residents of all ages enhance their lives by expanding access to the internet.” 

The Dutchess Reads: Bridging the Digital Divide awards are as follows:  

Amenia Free Library Association - $5,500 to purchase two (2) tablets with an early literacy software program targeted for children ages 2-8, featuring more than 4,000 fun, interactive and engaging learning activities to expand knowledge in math, science and nature, social studies and geography, reading, art and music, and writing and computer skills.

Beekman Library - $6,100 to purchase five (5) laptops and portable wireless hotspots so residents can develop digital literacy skills and proficiency to search and apply for employment, further education and access other enrichment information and activities.

Blodgett Memorial Library - $11,000 to purchase Hoopla, a digital media service with hundreds of thousands of movies, music, audiobooks, eBooks, comics, periodicals and TV shows, available for streaming or download to residents with a library card.

East Fishkill Community Library - $5,000 to purchase five (5) iPads, five (5) laptops and two (2) charging stations to expand access of digitally based in-library programming for children ages 5-17 and expansion of home access by making laptops and iPads available by loan.

Grinnell Public Library District - $4,000 to purchase four (4) desktop computers and one (1) printer to replace the antiquated hardware in the Children's Room, which is also used by homeschoolers seeking educational resources and teens who lack access at home to complete homework assignments, work on projects and collaborate with peers.

Northeast-Millerton Library - $5,301 to expand internet access and build technology knowledge by purchasing three (3) hotspots and three (3) laptops to circulate to children to ensure access to remote education and to broaden career exploration access to adult residents.

Pawling Free Library - $1,220 to replace the antiquated wireless hardware infrastructure to provide continuous uninterrupted wireless service to all library patrons, in all areas of the library.

Pine Plains Free Library - $1,200 to initiate and advertise a pay-per-use model of Hoopla, a digital media service with hundreds of thousands of movies, music, audiobooks, eBooks, comics, periodicals and TV shows are available for streaming or download, available to residents with a library card.

Pleasant Valley Free Library - $5,000 to purchase five (5) laptops and a wireless printer for the creation of a mobile training lab to host classes, teaching people the skills needed to apply for tomorrow's jobs today.

Poughkeepsie Public Library District - $27,039 to purchase fourteen (14) iPad Airs and accessories to promote early literacy by encouraging reading and other interactive digital learning programs for children ages 2-5; and partner with the Poughkeepsie City School District (PCSD) by adding and making early reader content to the eBook catalog accessible through Sora, an application designed to link school and public library activities, and fund the Wi-Fi network connection to fifty (50) donated hotspots that will allow PCSD students the ability to engage in distance learning.

Tivoli Free Library - $675 to purchase five (5) hotspots for loan to patrons, which will allow them the ability to borrow laptops so they can gain complete access to the internet at home.

County Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver said, "During last year's budget process, I offered this grant as an amendment because I understood the importance of increasing internet, computer and remote reading opportunities. In these trying times, these grants couldn't be more appropriate."

Libraries offer a wide range of services and resources to community members of all ages, which include the availability of physical and virtual materials, literacy and children’s programs, parenting classes, free computer use, Wi-Fi and internet access, homework help and research resources, job skill training opportunities and more. Libraries also act as learning centers and catalysts to encourage reading and promote learning and literacy while advancing economic opportunity for community members seeking to overcome barriers to literacy so they can enhance the skills needed to locate, sustain and advance employment opportunities.
Though many libraries are closed during the pandemic, many are still connecting with local residents, offering online programming for users of all ages, including access to resources such as e-books, audio books, video streaming, magazines and even virtual story time.

More information about the Agency Partnership Grant program is available on the Department of Planning and Development website.