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Independence Public Library Awarded Libraries Build Business Grant from the American Library Association and  Google.org to Help Libraries Support Small Businesses 

Selected Libraries To Publish a “Guidebook” For All Libraries to Help Small Businesses Based on their Learnings

(Independence, KS – 7/23/20): The Independence Public Library announced today that they have received funding $68,927  from the American Library Association (ALA) to build capacity and expand their programming to small businesses and entrepreneurs from low-income and underrepresented groups.  The Independence Public Library is one of 13 public libraries around the country to receive this funding from Libraries Build Business, an initiative of the American Library Association funded by Google.org. Google.org has invested $2 million to begin the initiative. This grant — made as part of the tech company’s Grow with Google initiative to create an opportunity for all  – will also create learning resources for any library to support entrepreneurs in its community.

Brandon West, the Development Coordinator, said, “this is a timely grant when we began the application process in late November, we had no idea how relevant this grant would be. We are looking forward to launching the program and helping rebuild economic growth not only in our community but in Southeast Kansas.”  

Over the next 18 months, the Independence Public Library will initiate a three-phased approach in establishing the “Cultivate Indy” Business Center, at the Independence Public Library. The first phase includes new databases for our community to find ideas and resources for their small business endeavors, as well as providing state-of-the-art technology including top of the line PC and MAC computers. The second phase includes a small maker space that allows for prototyping products, as well as small manufacturing. The final phase will include a new small conference room at the library and additional technology. This project will enable us to work with already established economic development entities within Southeast Kansas and to bring in speakers from regional organizations. It allows IPL to provide equal access to resources for minority and low-income entrepreneurs within our community.

“We’re proud to work with the American Library Association to bring this program to life. With the COVID-19 crisis, there has never been a more critical time to support our small businesses and ensure they can survive and thrive well into the future,” said Jacquelline Fuller, president of Google.org. “Libraries are the gathering places of many communities, and increasingly they are learning centers for entrepreneurs. Their role is vital in our collective effort to support small business leaders and entrepreneurs who need it most.” 

“ALA is thrilled to support and work collaboratively with the Independence Public Library and the entire LBB cohort,” said ALA Associate Executive Director, Kathi Kromer. “We are impressed by the innovation and institutional commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion the Independence Public Library has demonstrated in developing their small business offerings.”  

The Independence Public Library is excited to be a grant recipient and included with libraries such as the Los Angeles County Public Library and Baltimore County Public Library. This 18-month grant will provide our community with resources that tend to be only available in larger cities. We look forward to working with the economic development organizations within our community and provide opportunities for all individuals to achieve their dream.

The Independence Public Library welcomes and celebrates everyone. As an innovator, we inspire curiosity and empower people to discover a world of ideas which enrich our community.

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