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Schenectady County Public Library System Selected for Competitive Federal Humanities Grant

Schenectady County Public Library

$10,000 Grant Will Help the Library Recover from the Coronavirus Pandemic

Schenectady County’s Public Library System has been selected as one of 200 libraries nationwide for the American Library Association’s American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries opportunity, an emergency relief program to assist libraries that have been adversely affected by the pandemic.

With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Schenectady County Public Library (SCPL) will use funds to anchor itself in the community as a strong humanities institution. The competitive award comes with a $10,000 grant that will help the library deliver excellent programs and services related to culture, history, literature, and other humanities subjects.

More than 370 libraries applied for the grant, according to ALA. View the full list of selected libraries.

“We are so thankful that our County library system was chosen to receive this grant,” said Schenectady County Legislator Sara Mae Pratt, Chair of the Education & Libraries Committee. “This funding will help SCPL expand adult programming at our central branch and help provide virtual programming that residents can more easily access from their own homes.”

The participating libraries, selected through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process, include public libraries, academic/college libraries, K-12 libraries, and tribal, special and prison libraries. The recipients represent 45 states and Puerto Rico and serve communities ranging in size from 642 residents in Weir, Kansas, to the city of Los Angeles. Libraries were chosen with an emphasis on reaching historically underserved and/or rural communities.

 “We are so proud to be chosen for this amazing opportunity,” said Karen Bradley, Director of the Schenectady County Public Library. “This grant will allow our library to better serve our patrons and plan strong, enriching, humanities programming as we come out of the pandemic.”

Schenectady County Public Library will use the grant funds to invite guest speakers to support humanities efforts, purchase a limited number of museum passes, support staffing, and programming from book discussions to film discussions.

“Libraries have faced significant hardships throughout the pandemic —from budget cuts to staff furloughs to building closures — especially in our communities of the greatest need,” said ALA President Patty Wong. “This crucial support from NEH will enable our beloved institutions, and the dedicated people who run them, to rebuild and emerge from the pandemic stronger than ever.”

American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grants for Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

Learn more about SCPL, including branch locations and operating hours, upcoming programing and more at