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Phillips Library Wins Accessibility Grant for Rural Libraries

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19

Phillips Library at night

Mount St. Mary’s University’s Phillips Library is one of 240 libraries that will participate in Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities, an American Library Association (ALA) initiative. The program empowers small and rural libraries to better serve people with disabilities by providing community engagement and accessibility resources.

As part of the grant, Phillips Library Director Jessica Boyer, Ph.D, C’16, will take an ALA-provided online course on leading conversations in the community. The selection also includes a $20,000 grant—given to only 100 of the chosen libraries—which will be used to remove old shelving in the lower level of Phillips Library and replace it with newer, more accessible furniture.

The timely grant comes as the Mount makes widespread efforts to promote diversity and ensure inclusion on campus, particularly for marginalized groups.

“This grant will fund increasing accessibility of library spaces and help ensure that all feel welcome and comfortable in the library,” said Director of the Library Jessica Boyer, Ph.D. “The Phillips Library is honored to receive this competitive grant, and we are very grateful to the American Library Association for this opportunity.”

Boyer, who has been the director of Phillips Library since 2017, graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University with Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and German. She went on to earn her master’s in library science from Clarion University and her doctoral degree in higher education leadership from Concordia University Chicago.

Since 2014, ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has reimagined libraries' role in supporting communities. Libraries of all types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; participate 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.

Katherine Stohlman Pieters, C'19