Libraries Transforming Communities Grant


Monday, March 4, 2024


Brittany Jacobs

Library Director

Burlington Public Library



This $10,000 grant will help the library better serve patrons with visual disabilities.


The Burlington Public Library has been selected as one of 310 libraries to participate in round two of Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities, an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that provides community engagement and accessibility resources to small and rural libraries to help them better serve people with disabilities.

The competitive award comes with a $10,000 grant that will help the library purchase Wonder Books and Playaways. These MP3 audio books will connect visually impaired community members with our collection in a new and exciting way that does not require the internet or additional equipment. Wonder Books are MP3 audiobooks built into the spines of children’s titles, while Playaways are self-contained, pocket-sized audio books that are very user-friendly and circulate just like a book. The addition of these titles will enhance our books on CD and digital audio book collections, while removing the barrier of the internet or additional equipment (CD player).

“I am so proud to receive this grant,” said Becky Nelson, Manager of Outreach & Program Services. “This is a continuation of a project I started in the last semester of my Library Science master’s degree. I was tasked with creating a special collection. I chose Wonderbooks and Playaways because of how accessible they are for so many people. When the Libraries Transforming Communities grant was introduced to me I thought the purposes of my project matched very well with the goals of this grant. I cannot wait to provide these wonderful devices to the community!”

As part of the grant, Becky Nelson, Manager of Outreach & Program Services will take an online course in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to library work today. Nelson, the grant applicant, will then host a conversation with residents about library services for the visually impaired and use the grant funds to enhance our collection with more versatile audio titles.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant to further connect visually impaired people with the Burlington Public Library as it helps us to realize our mission statement of connecting ALL people with others, to learn about the world around them, and imagine the futures before us,” said Library Director, Brittany Jacobs. “The more inclusive we’re able to make the library, the better example we set as an organization committed to inclusivity and access for all.”

If you are interested in getting involved or taking part in the conversation, please contact Brittany Jacobs at 319-753-1647, , or visit for more information.

Since 2014, ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has re-imagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees and staff.

“Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL).”

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Burlington Public Library

210 Court St. Burlington, IA 52601  319-753-1647