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Otis Library Receives National Grant

The Otis Library has been selected as one of 200 libraries to participate in Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries, an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that helps library workers better serve their small and rural communities.

The competitive award comes with a $3,000 grant that will help the library to open lines of communication and create opportunities to develop an appreciation of racial and cultural diversity throughout the Otis community. “We are fortunate to have two library trustees Gloria Mamokhin and Susan Ebitz who in addition to writing the grant have volunteered to be trained in facilitation and outreach through this amazing opportunity,” said Library Director Kathleen Bort. “This grant will allow them to facilitate discussions with residents to communicate effectively. As part of the grant, Otis Library trustees Mamokhin, and Ebitz will take an online course in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to community work. They will then host conversations with community boards, and residents and educators about racial and cultural diversity and use the grant funds to enhance the library collection in these areas for all ages from children to adults.

These efforts will articulate and interact with the Farmington River School as well other community organizations such as The Otis Cultural Council, the Otis Recreation Department, and Diverse Otis. The Town Departments; the Otis Police, the Board of Selectmen, the Technology Committee and the Historic and Planning Commissions will be invited. Through this program we will use the talents and expertise of our diverse population to foster engagement and understanding.

If you are interested in getting involved or taking part in the conversation, please contact Kathleen Bort, Library Director or Gloria Mamokhin or Susan Ebitz program coordinators, or send a note of interest to or call 413-269-0109 for more information.

More than 300 libraries applied for the grant, according to ALA. Eight Libraries from Massachusetts received awards.

Since 2014, ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has re-imagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees and staff.

“Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL).”


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