Toyota boosts library with $20,000 grant

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By Robbie Ward/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Thanks to a recently announced $20,000 grant from Toyota Manufacturing Mississippi Inc., the Lee County Library will purchase about 500 items aimed at children and young adults.
The grant will increase digital reading materials by about 25 percent, add about 250 books and expand equipment. Jeff Tomlinson, director of the Lee County Library, said books, e-books, DVDs, audiobooks and other resources will add hundreds more reasons for young readers to visit the library.
“It’s going to make a huge impact,” Tomlinson said.
The library has set a goal of increasing by 20 percent the number of registered children and young adults using the library, along with size of collections for them by the same percentage.
Among the materials planned with the grant, the library will add about 150 e-books, a significant increase to the 400 e-books already at the library.
The grant also will cover some equipment with larger monitors for group demonstrations and training.
“These new computers will make it much easier for staff to show patrons how to create an account to download the library’s e-book app,” said Beverly Edwards, reference librarian. “We’re very excited and thankful that Toyota is part of the community.”
Emily Holland, spokeswoman for Toyota Motora Manufacturing Mississippi Inc. in Blue Springs, said the library grant is part of $459,000 the automotive manufacturing company has provided to educational and nonprofit organizations in Lee, Pontotoc and Union counties from April 1, 2012, to March 31.
“It’s very important for us to give back to the community,” Holland said.
With limited funding for library resources, Tomlinson said community partners like Toyota help the Lee County Library provide resources that help younger residents develop a lifelong curiosity and love for reading.
With more younger readers choosing mobile devices, iPads and other tablets as their reading mediums, Tomlinson said the library must adapt.
“We’re providing content, including digital content, to the next generation – and all generations,” he said. “This private funding partnership is making that happen.”
robbie.ward@journalinc.com