WCCLS received two American Rescue Plan Act grants totaling $7,125 from the State Library of Oregon. Both grants will create opportunities for us to support underserved communities.
The first grant, focusing on digital equity and inclusion, will give patrons free access to VIP Learning, which offers vocational training and tutoring in Spanish. VIP Learning has more than 50 step-by-step courses on topics ranging from hairstyling and auto repair to construction and agriculture. Users can earn certificates to include on their resumes. Our goal is to provide learning and enrichment opportunities through robust, up-to-date digital resources in languages other than English. We are excited about making a positive impact on our community by supporting a changing environment that promotes lifelong learning.
The second grant, focusing on equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism, will allow us to purchase Spanish books for the county’s correctional facilities. WCCLS staff will develop the collection, catalog items and deliver books. We currently provide funds to the Washington County Jail so that their staff can maintain a library. While there are some Spanish books in the jail library, this is the first initiative of its kind in the county. Our goal is to better serve the recreational, educational and personal needs of incarcerated people who speak Spanish.
WCCLS has the capacity to implement these grant-funded projects thanks to our newest staff member. In April, we welcomed our first bilingual collection development librarian who joined the Countywide Collections team.
Magdianamy Carrillo-Sotomayor is responsible for selecting e-books and audiobooks in Spanish and other languages as well as managing our collection of online resources (such as The New York Times and LinkedIn Learning). She is originally from Puerto Rico and brings to WCCLS 13 years of experience working toward more equitable and inclusive services, overseeing community outreach, collaborating with migrant education programs, providing workshops for community agencies, coordinating English classes, teaching technology classes and much more. We're thrilled to welcome Magdianamy to the WCCLS team.
Editor's note: WCCLS has ended its subscription to VIP Learning due to breaches in service by the vendor. We will be working with the State Library to determine next steps for use of the ARPA grant funds.