This article was written by BenitoLink intern Eden De Alba
At the Aug. 9 San Benito County Board of Supervisors meeting, Librarian Nora Conte announced that the San Benito County Free Library was awarded an $11.8 million grant from the Emergency Connectivity fund.
The fund is a $7.171 billion program that aims to help schools and libraries impacted by COVID-19. They prioritize funding internet access and technology for all students who use it for their education.
“We’ll be able to have Chromebooks and hotspots available to the community and that will be huge to all the incoming students from all the schools in the county,” Conte said.
She added, “I would like to thank everyone in the community for the support and I would like to thank the kindness of the board for entrusting me to go forward.”
Conte said the county will decide on how to use the grant on Aug. 11.
The library also plans to open a 24-hour kiosk, which according to the Institute of Museums and Library Services website can hold about 235 items, across from the future site of Sunnyside Park near Hospital Road and Riverview Way. It is about four miles away from the library’s location at 470 Fifth Street.
On Sept. 23, the library is scheduled to do the groundbreaking for the kiosk. Conte said the plan is to have it ready by the end of December.
The library has been open to the public since 1960 and currently serves over 40 different schools, including two colleges. In 2020 and 2021, the library was closed due to the pandemic, but continued to offer book pickups and drop-offs. Since then, the library has reopened to provide more services for the community.
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