Sunday, May 31, 2020
Community Library Receives $350,000 Grant for Learning Commons
Saturday, May 4, 2019


The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has awarded The Community Library a $350,000 grant.

The award is being used in the library’s two-year renovation project to shore up floors and give the library a facelift. This specific grant is helping to transform the library’s reference room into a 21st century Learning Commons. It will include an improved computer lab, a classroom with interactive technology and small study rooms.

It is scheduled to be completed in July 2019.

This independent library was founded by 17 local women during the McCarthy era and it has flourished and evolved over the decades. This grant helps this unique, private, rural library serving 16,000 members and 125,000 annual visitors to become fully accessible, more flexible and stocked with modern technology.

The M.J. Murdiok Charitable Trust, created by the will of the late Melvin J. Murdock, provides grants to organizations in Idaho, Alaska, Montana, Oregon and Washington. Its mission: to strengthen the region’s educational and cultural base. Since its inception in 1975 the Trust has awarded more than 6,650 grants totaling nearly $990 million.

Nearly 190 of those grants, totaling $25 million,  have gone to such Idaho nonprofits as The Peregrine Fund, since 2011. The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust has made a decades-long commitment to supporting educational programming across Idaho and the Northwest.

“We love programs and projects that find a balance between continuing to invest in efforts that have proven successful over the years, while simultaneously looking at ways to innovate, expand and grow,” said Dr. Steve Moore, executive director of the trust. “We were impressed with both The Community Library’s longstanding commitment to encourage reading and literacy, as well as its unique vision to grow and evolve with the needs of the community.”

It is much easier for people to access information in the 21st century, Moore continued, “but only if our institutions have the tools to make it accessible to everyone, regardless of ability, location and income.”

The renovation program has added a teen lounge and tech studio, developed a new climate-controlled archive and expanded the lecture hall with new technology and greater seating capacity for audiences who gather to hear people like former Sec. of State John Kerry. Kerry drew more than 400 attendees in two separate talks and more than a thousand online viewers.

“Here in the middle of Idaho we need a cultural institution that can span big geographies and encourage big imaginations for all,” said the library’s executive director Jenny Emery Davidson. “The grant from the Murdock Trust is pivotal in helping The Community Library bring new resources to our central Idaho community in more effective dynamic ways.”

The library hopes to celebrate its transformation in late October or early November 2019.





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