Loutit District Library aims to engage seniors with Brooks Media Center

The Loutit District Library plans to open the Brooks Media Center, which aims to bridge the digital divide by providing computers for public use and a private office for digital help and video calls. 

Part of the media center’s funding will come from a $30,000 grant from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation (GHACF).

The library hopes that this new space will intentionally engage seniors and serve community members without access to the internet.

“We are thrilled that our Emerging Technologies librarian will now have a dedicated space to provide patrons with one-on-one technology assistance,” says Ellen Peters, Loutit District Library executive director. “The library will be able to offer customers a space to conduct private video calls for telehealth appointments, job interviews, Zoom meetings, online classes, and more.”

In addition to accessible technology, the Brooks Media Center will house a newly donated collection of 3,000+ vinyl albums, two listening stations with record players, and Bluetooth headphones. The library plans to hold music-centered social and dance programs specifically for older adults, as well as partner with assisted living centers and adult care centers to expand its programming into the community.

“The health and well-being of individuals in our community has always been a top priority at the
foundation,” says Holly Cole, GHACF vice president of grants and program. “We are proud to support the Loutit District Library and their efforts to engage the older adult population in social activities that will benefit their mental and physical health.”

By the end of 2024, the library anticipates increasing its social and music programs for older adults by 25%.

“Our purpose is to serve, with intention, community members from all demographics, especially those who most need it, and to provide a space where everyone feels welcome,” Peters adds.

Third round of Community Impact Grants

The foundation’s grant is one of five the foundation is awarding in its third round of 2023 Community Impact Grant awards. The funds, totaling $232,000, were given in support of Northwest Ottawa County and surrounding communities. Additional Community Impact Grants include:

Northwest Ottawa County Chamber Foundation — “Envisioning Our Future” — Tuesday Forum Series ($35,000)
In partnership with the GHACF, the Chamber of Grand Haven, Spring Lake, and Ferrysburg held a six-part speaker series dedicated to encouraging area leaders, stakeholders, and community members to learn more about key issues impacting Northwest Ottawa County and their role in creating a thriving community. The series was very successful, with approximately 160 individuals participating in each session with around 250 unique participants throughout the series. This grant will be used to host a follow-up event with a focus on trends and further conversations to identify the next steps.

Grand Haven Area Public Schools (GHAPS) — Decodable Books for Science of Reading ($42,000)
GHAPS will use this grant to implement a new reading curriculum called “The Science of Reading,” with the goal of having 100% of students show growth in their reading proficiency and be reading at grade level. The Science of Reading emphasizes the importance of phonics instruction and helps students to decode unknown words as they read. This grant will allow GHAPS to acquire additional decodable books for students in grades K-6 to practice both at school and at home.

Housing Next — General Operations ($75,000)
Housing Next was awarded the designation to serve as the lead for West Michigan’s Regional Hub Partnership and is responsible for facilitating the creation of the regional strategy for Michigan’s first statewide Housing Plan. Housing Next will use this grant to support these efforts, as well as provide core technical assistance work in Northwest Ottawa County which includes tasks like local data tracking, communications and public relations, site development, and development incentives.

Mosaic Counseling — Technology Optimization for Client Services ($50,000)
Mosaic Counseling will use this grant to enhance the intake experience for clients who are seeking mental health services. This includes purchasing laptops and working with a developer and a technology solutions organization to improve the therapist portal. Mosaic Counseling contracts with local therapists, which allows the organization to quickly connect individuals who live, work, worship, or attend school in Ottawa County and are in need of mental health services, regardless of their insurance status, without being waitlisted. Mosaic Counseling staff anticipate that the technological upgrades will improve the ability of potential clients to be matched with a therapist efficiently and effectively.

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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.