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Grant injects HOPE into library resources

By Traci Chapman
Staff Writer

In a year that’s brought with it more than its share of challenges, Mustang Public Library recently received a little injection of hope that helped fill in blanks caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Mustang Public Library staff pose with items purchased through an Oklahoma Humanities/National Endowment for the Humanities grant – Breanna Cecil with young adult selections; Jennifer Willis with new juvenile items; and Alicia Ballard with materials purchased for adults to check out. (Photo provided)

Inspiration came through Oklahoma H.O.P.E. – Humanities Organizations Pandemic Emergency – a $10,000 grant that allowed the library to purchase needed materials out of reach after COVID-19 caused financial issues that payed havoc for governments at every level and businesses and benevolent organizations that normally would step in to lend a hand, library director Julie Slupe said.

“The library used the funds to purchase materials that we were unable to purchase when the City’s budget was frozen earlier this year,” she said.

Those materials were books, audiovisuals and other items for all ages – juveniles, young adults and older library patrons.

With H.O.P.E., Oklahoma Humanities joined forces with the federal National Endowment for the Humanities, which provided more than $400,000 made available through a national cultural stimulus package approved as a result of COVID-19. Oklahoma Humanities provides a range of grants and other resources to fulfill its mission of expanding cultural programming across Oklahoma “to strengthen communities by helping Oklahomans learn about the human experience, understand new perspectives, and participate knowledgeably in civic life,” the organization stated on its website.

Slupe is described by city officials as “grant royalty,” a director dedicated to enhancing municipal funds and create new opportunities at a level unseen before, City Manager Tim Rooney said earlier this year. She also has been instrumental in obtaining alternative funding for other departments across the city, he said.

“We are very blessed to have Julie – her drive, her dedication, her talent,” the city manager said in March. “She’s made a real difference for the city of Mustang.”


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