King Foundation awards $39,000 to Aroostook organizations

Posted May 12, 2011, at 5:29 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Three Aroostook County libraries and one nonprofit have been awarded a combined $39,000 in grants from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation.

The Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library in Presque Isle got word recently that it will receive $7,500 from the fund.

“The grant was applied for in September and we were notified a few weeks ago that our proposal — public-access computer replacement — was accepted,” said Sonja Plummer-Morgan, librarian.

The money will be used to upgrade outdated and unrepairable equipment.

“The grant will be used to purchase hardware-software to replace the public-access computers that were no longer able to be fixed. In 2010, five computers were no longer able to be repaired, reducing the number of computers in the building available to the public to six,” she said.

This isn’t the first time the library has received a King Foundation grant.

“An organization may only apply for the STK grant every two years. Several years ago (around 2005) we received a $25,000 grant to replace the lighting in the building from old fluorescents to energy-efficient lighting. As a result of that, we received nearly $4,000 in rebates from Efficiency Maine,” said Plummer-Morgan. For more information, call 764-2571.

Washburn District High School Library recently was awarded a grant of $2,000 to buy Barnes & Noble Nook e-readers, according to librarian Londa Brown.

The new e-readers were unveiled to the students in April, which was National School Library Month.

“Our library encourages and promotes independent readers, knowing that students who are readers are more successful in school and in life,” Brown said.

Brown said donations are welcome to help the library buy e-books for the new readers. For more information or to arrange a donation, contact Brown at 455-4501 or email libbrown@msad45.net.

The largest sum for a library, $25,000, was received by the University of Maine at Fort Kent which will be used for a new roof and roofing insulation for the University’s Waneta T. Blake Library.

Blake Library plays a vital role in supporting residents of many communities in the St. John Valley and beyond, as well as UMFK’s students, by providing access to information services; resources; juvenile, young adult and adult literature; and Internet access. The library also has a small art gallery where local artists regularly display their work. The library serves more than 10,000 patrons annually.

UMFK’s Director of Information Services Leslie Kelly, who supervises the operation of the library, made the application for the grant with the King Foundation in December 2010, complete with a budget estimate of $24,622.

Kelly appealed to the foundation for the funds, writing in the application, “the roof is leaking in several places and has already been patched several times.”

“In addition, proper insulation would increase the life of the new roof and help save on heating,” she added.

The university received a check about a month ago covering the cost of the project.

The Northern Lighthouse Inc., a nonprofit organization providing mental health services to children throughout Aroostook County, also received word this spring that it had received a grant in the amount of $5,000.

“Earlier this year, the Northern Lighthouse looked like Santa’s workshop, thanks to a $5,000 grant from the STK Foundation. The Toy Box project resulted from a grant application submitted in December. The toys, recreational equipment and art supplies will benefit more than 60 children with developmental delays, social issues and physical handicaps,” said Bobbie Jo Adams, administrative assistant-grant writer.

The Toy Box Project is the first step in providing sensory and recreational equipment to clients.

The project aids children with special needs with a variety of goals, including socialization, communication and increased motor skills.

“Toys, games, art supplies and sporting equipment were all purchased from Kmart in Presque Isle through the Kmart Kares program for nonprofits. Clinicians, day habilitation specialists and behavioral health professionals will all use the toy boxes as tools to work on individual goals while in home and community settings,” said Adams.

The Lighthouse continues to seek funding for sensory equipment and recreational opportunities to further help clients manage their diagnosis while continuing to grow and learn. For more information, contact bobbie.adams@tnlh.org.

The Stephen & Tabitha King Foundation was created because its founders wanted to give back to their communities. The foundation strives to fulfill its mission with respect, integrity and consideration.

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