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Middle Country Public Library receives $450G grant

Sandra Feinberg, director of the Middle Country Public

Sandra Feinberg, director of the Middle Country Public Library, deposits books into the new, automated return station. (Jan. 12, 2012) Credit: Heather Walsh

The Middle Country Public Library has received a $450,000 National Leadership Grant to support its Family Place Libraries program, an early childhood and family support service initiative.

More than 200 institutions across the country applied for the grant, which was awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, but only 19 institutions received it. The Middle Country Public Library not only got the largest grant, but it was the only Long Island institution to receive one.

Kathleen Deerr, the initiative’s national coordinator, said Family Place Libraries was recognized for its “positive impact on the library itself, the communities and the families.”

Family Place Libraries, which began in 1996, aims to make the library environment welcoming for children and families, connects local professionals with parents, facilitates early intervention, and prepares children to enter school, among other things. Deerr said all of that is done very casually.

“You can be sitting on the floor building blocks with your child while you’re talking one-on-one with an expert,” she said.

The Middle Country Public Library will use the money to fund staff training, site visits and project implementation. The library staff will go across seven states to implement and evaluate the program.

The Middle Country Public Library has been the official training site for the program since 1999. More than 350 libraries from 24 states have adopted the initiative, Deerr said.

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