2021 PLP Innovation and Technology Opportunity Grant Recipients

To connect with any of the below Innovation and Technology grant recipients please email info@plpinfo.org

This project will allow installation and maintenance of 4 ChargeTech 8-bay cell phone charging and UVC Disinfection lockers (with stands) at library branches in high need areas of Contra Costa County. These secure public device charging stations will provide safe, reliable access to phone charging, thereby ensuring that library users have access to communication. These charging stations are unique in that they allow the user to secure their phone in a locked compartment while it is charging. In addition, the phones will also be disinfected using UVC light. Currently Contra Costa County Library users plug in their phones and other devices wherever they find a power outlet or at unsecured power towers, leaving their phones unattended and vulnerable to theft. Library users who are unstably housed or experiencing homelessness often have no other place to charge their phone, cutting them off from emergency communication and information. Students also need a safe place to charge their phones, so they have reliable access.

In 2021, MCFL joined the “California Libraries Creating Racial Equity and Inclusion” (CREI) cohort. Through this experience the CREI team recognized that analyzing broad Monterey County data did not provide a true picture of what was happening in the local communities surrounding our 16 branches. To advance the work of the CREI team, MCFL would like to use this grant to conduct a deep dive into local community data and establish a framework for branches to analyze core data points for their specific communities. This framework will include a branch template with standard core data points and a brief annual report form, that each branch will use to summarize data observations and set one or two annual goals and objectives, informed by the data, to advance racial equity and inclusion. The framework will be presented to branch staff at an all staff training along with a guest speaker presentation on the importance of data informed decision making based on the Government Alliance for Racial
Equity (GARE) model.

Mountain View Public Library would like to replicate our previous 2017 replication grant, “Digital Discovery through Touchscreen Kiosks.” With the 2017 grant funding, we purchased and configured three touchscreen kiosks and set-up the kiosk software on the remaining nontouchscreen virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) catalog stations in the Library. These kiosks provide library users with the ability to search the catalog, find program information, reserve a study room, register for a library card, and locate items in the building with the StackMap wayfinding software. The three touchscreen kiosks have been well received by library users and are easy to modify by staff as needed. Unfortunately, we have encountered significant issues with running the kiosk software on the VDI terminals. Updates to the VDI images need to occur every time a change is needed and Library staff have to manually start the kiosk software every morning. The VDI terminals also present a security risk since they do not stay in kiosk mode. We would like to replace the seven remaining VDI catalog stations with touchscreen kiosks.

To take advantage of the unique structure of the Pleasanton Library and Recreation Department, which combines library and recreation services staff into a single, cohesive team, the Pleasanton Public Library seeks to implement Tailored Recreation & Education Collections (TRECs). This will be an innovative approach to collection development, access, and programming, by providing Pleasanton residents access to library materials and services, tailored to wherever their journey in the City begins. To kickstart this substantial project, Pleasanton Public Library has identified three key locations within the department for an initial project launch: the Alviso Adobe Community Park, the Gingerbread Preschool, and the Amador Recreation Center. Ventures at the Alviso Adobe Community Park will include the creation of a physical materials collection focusing on local history and nature topics, as well as a lecture series featuring historians and other presenters. Efforts at the Gingerbread Preschool will focus on substantially adding to the site’s existing in-house book collection, with the goal of adding checkout capability for take-home use of materials. Additions to the Amador Recreation Center will include a collection of books geared towards teens and tweens as well as a collection of role-playing and tabletop games that students will utilize in an after-school setting.

For many years the Richmond Public Library (RPL) has provided children’s audiobooks on CD, book/CD audiobook bundles, and early learning stations in library branches. As CD players become less common, children are not able to use audiobooks on CD as easily as in the past, and with the rise of tablets, the aged early learning stations can be replaced by a portable technology for in-home use. With this project the Richmond Public Library will make a significant investment in self-contained audiobook technology and dramatically expand early learning opportunities and portability.

Lately, our communities have been suffering from many factors that have impacted their respiratory health, from wildfire smoke to COVID-19, often leading them to stay inside their homes to stay safe. This is in addition to unknown air pollutants that they may already have in their homes. With more time spent indoors, along with windows and doors kept closed, there is a need for people to address their indoor air quality in order to lead a high-quality, healthy life. Devices such as air quality monitors assist people in knowing the air quality level in their home, alerting one to action as necessary to rectify poor air quality.

San Mateo County Libraries
Families Create (Category B)

San Mateo County Libraries provide an inclusive, equitable, and vital community hub for hands-on learning. However, due to the continuing COVID-19 safety guidelines, the libraries will only be able to offer limited in-person programming opportunities to youth and families this fall. The take-home STEAM Kits would provide an assortment of materials for activities previously accessible in person pre-COVID-19 and would allow families to safely “make together” at home throughout the fall. These STEAM Kits would provide sample materials for a variety of projects ranging from art to engineering and include printed tutorials that relate to the materials provided with links to supplementary online resources. Kits will be distributed via library curbside service while supplies last and are essential to our fall programming to provide safe programs for youth to learn and engage. These kits will be offered as a supplement to free virtual programs and limited in-person programs provided by the library. The purpose of the STEAM Kits is to increase family access to and engagement with library programming.

Santa Clara City Library
Checkout and Code Kits (Category A)

The Santa Clara City Library is proposing to create “Checkout and Code Kits” to support our patrons’ pursuit of learning how to code. Each Kit will contain a Chromebook, mouse, bag, and detailed instructions and lessons for specific coding languages. All lessons will be completed online through the browser. Library Staff will create at least 10 different coding lesson plans in separate languages so that our patrons can choose whichever language they’d like to learn. This project will also provide opportunities for local teens to serve as volunteer resource specialists responsible for responding to patron questions and providing technical coding support.

Over the past year we continued to offer services to our patrons at home during the Shelter-inPlace order with curbside pick-up, mail delivery, book bundles, STEM Activity Kits and Memory Activity Kits. One patron group we may have missed, who regularly visited the library when we were open to engage with the community, were adults with special needs and developmental disabilities. Adult groups were unable to visit the library while our buildings were closed. Even while we are now open daily, we continue to limit access to technology on-site as we adapt services in response to COVID-19. To address this need and aid caregivers and families with engaging learners at home, we will develop kits with activities that reinforce learning of daily life skills. Each kit will touch on a skill that they would use in daily life such as keeping time, problem solving, communication, healthy eating, and other topics. The kits will include activities to help with fine motor skills, stress relief, counting, sorting, and writing. These kits will be designed to keep adults active at home with the coaching of a caregiver.

Sunny Side Up: Sunnyvale Public Library Mobile Kitchen Cart will be a program where library staff and culinary experts teach classes on food and nutrition at the library using a mobile kitchen cart. Programs will be offered for all age groups (children, teens, and adults), and will be on topics such as cooking fundamentals, nutrition, multicultural recipes, and seasonal cooking. The goal of the program is to provide instruction on basic cooking techniques, share recipes from our different cultures, celebrate cultural events with food, and get library patrons of all ages excited about healthy cooking. To facilitate these programs, the library is requesting funds to purchase a mobile kitchen cart, which contains a burner, oven, sink, and expandable counter space. During the grant period this fiscal year, the library will aim to offer 3-4 cooking programs for various age groups, create a marketing plan to spread the word about our new programs, and create a community cookbook of shared recipes.

The Express Learning Literacy Kits provide an all-in-one glimpse into the many materials our library can offer on a variety of subjects. These “Express Learning Kits” will be targeted at families with children aged 0-10 and childcare providers. The kits will be COVID-19 conscious kits with a plastic tote, books, DVD/CDs and manipulatives, all of which can all be easily disinfected. We intend to support basic early literacy skills with common fun themes for younger audiences, as aligned with our current strategic goals. Our BiblioVan will be utilized to further support childcare providers by providing routine contactless delivery, a service modeled after our homebound lending program. However, our main focus will be on children who have outgrown storytime and the plethora of other community services offered to children aged 0-5. We see a need in our community to support English/Spanish learners and their busy families with a quick and easy kit that not only provides leveled reading but also supports relevant social themes. These “tough topic” learning kits will support the whole child and hopefully improve both their academic and social endeavors.