Zoobean, parent company of Beanstack, the state’s online reading challenge platform, recently awarded microgrants to bold projects that uplift Black voices. These funds went to library partners seeking to establish or enhance local programs that advance social justice and equity. Four Wisconsin public libraries were selected from the national competition: Aram Public Library (Delavan), Galesville Public Library, Marinette County Consolidated Public Library Service, and McIntosh Memorial Library (Viroqua).
Microgrant projects support the Black Lives Matter movement in one of the following ways:
- Elevate Black voices and contributions to inspire social justice in local communities
- Improve opportunities and/or equity for Black people in local communities
- Educate non-BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) members in local communities and inspire a call to action.
Lara Lakari at Marinette County Consolidated Public Library Service reports, “We are using the money to add to our county-wide collections to support our 2021 Read Woke Challenge on Beanstack.” Similarly, readers of all ages are invited to participate in Galesville Public Library’s “Read Woke” reading challenge on Beanstack led by Wina Mortenson. Each person that completes the challenge can choose a free book from a selection purchased using microgrant funds (see photo). In a separate competition, Galesville Public Library also received a UW-Madison East Asian Studies mini grant to purchase two East Asian titles that will be distributed as part of the “Read Woke” reading challenge.
With the Black Voices microgrant, Aram Public Library will distribute copies of Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson at library program events and throughout the Delavan community, creating an informal mini community read. Katherine Schoofs, youth services librarian and assistant director at Aram Public Library, explains that “Programming includes passing out free copies of the book paired with virtual and face-to-face programming with appropriate pandemic safety precautions.” Virtual programs include Last Stop on Market Street storytimes in English, ASL and Spanish. The library will present one copy of Last Stop on Market Street to all City of Delavan 4K and Kindergarten classes, including the three local childcare centers and Early Head Start City of Delavan location. An in-person program will invite children and families to create “cardboard buses” to be used for a drive-in-style outdoor movie and storytime event.
Congratulations to these four libraries and youth services library staff for their commitment to social justice in local communities.
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt
DPI Library Services