Hancock, Michigan (WLUC) – The Hancock School Public Library was awarded an Innovative Community Library Grant from the Michigan Department of Education this week.

The total grant of $212,000 far exceeds the library’s initial request of $29,000. Part of the money will fund a literacy program proposed by library manager Boni Ashburn.

“At the end of the school year, we send preloaded Kindles to sixth graders,” says Ashburn. “Each Kindle comes with 30 or so books.

To apply for the grant, applicants had to suggest ways to address issues such as closing the literacy gap or increasing community participation.

Since the school library partnered with Portage Lake District Library four years ago, library visits have gone from 7,000 to nearly 35,000 annually.

Dr. Steve Patchin, Superintendent of Hancock Public Schools said: “And we are now in a situation where our regular customers really appreciate the service we provide. I am confident that I played a part in awarding this grant.”

The library has big plans for library improvements and additions, including adding a non-fiction section, replacing shelving and furniture, and setting up a revamped children’s area.

“We plan to move the children’s area here into an old computer lab, where we can chat and store all the little ones’ collections,” continues Ashburn. “We can have interactive activities and stuff for toddlers, preschoolers, etc.”

The library hopes that new additions will be added to the library’s continued growth.

We will continue to sell secondhand books tomorrow from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

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