Fairfax County is one of nine local governments nationwide to win a Public Library Innovation Grant from the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). The grants, made possible through ICMA’s partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, support projects developed by local government that utilize their public libraries in addressing local needs and providing new services with lasting benefits to their communities. ICMA, the premier local government and management organization in the U.S., will provide oversight for the operation of the program.
The grant of $34,450 will allow Fairfax County Public Library to continue offering its award-winning Changing Lives Through Literature program in partnership with the Virginia Department of Corrections and the Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Services.
Changing Lives Through Literature offers an alternative to formal court action or is a requirement as part of the Recidivist Prevention Program for Fairfax County offenders that uses the power of literature to transform lives through reading and group discussion. Literature and discussions are effective, proven tools for reducing recidivism at minimum cost.
During the process, offenders develop better verbal and listening skills, undergo self-reflection and learn how to become better citizens. Fairfax County will build a broader and stronger network to sustain and expand this program and promote public libraries as important tools in stemming criminal recidivism.
The ICMA Public Library Innovation Grants are designed to assist local governments in developing new and creative ways to strategically use their public libraries in meeting community needs. Recognizing the importance of the city manager/librarian relationship to create and sustain positive change for communities, the Innovation Grant will be anchored by a partnership between Fairfax County’s Office of the County Executive and the Fairfax County Public Library. Nine local governments were selected for the Innovation grants out of 515 applications received by ICMA.
For more information on the ICMA Public Library Innovation Grants, visit http://www.icma.org/main/bc.asp?bcid=1080