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Grow with Google and American Library Association fund Georgia public library programming to grow local businesses.

Georgia Public Library Service will partner with the American Library Association (ALA) and Grow with Google, the tech company’s economic opportunity initiative, to connect jobseekers and small businesses with library resources to build digital skills and grow businesses online.

“Georgia’s public libraries support local economic and workforce development efforts in many innovative ways,” said State Librarian Julie Walker. “We’re so pleased to add this partnership with the American Library Association and Grow with Google to build upon these efforts.”

ALA will provide Georgia Public Library Service with $28,000 to host Grow with Google events, manage funding for libraries to hold their own virtual events, and provide grants to libraries for innovative events supporting local jobseekers or small businesses. Grow with Google has provided ALA with this funding to support State Library Agencies, like Georgia Public Library Service, in recognition of the challenges facing libraries as they adapt services due to COVID-19.

Georgia Public Library Service supports local jobseekers and small businesses in other ways as well, including through free online resources such as the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative and Learning Express Job and Career Accelerator, and by providing crucial high-speed internet and Wi-Fi access in all 408 Georgia public libraries.

Additionally, eight public libraries in Georgia have been selected to participate in Libraries Lead with Digital Skills, an initiative of the American Library Association and the Public Library Association.

This program is funded by Libraries Lead with Digital Skills, which was created so that local libraries can combine their own program offerings with Grow with Google training materials to offer virtual community workshops or other activities aimed at empowering small businesses to grow online or assisting jobseekers to prepare for and find work. This grant was awarded to libraries whose applications innovatively responded to the impact of COVID-19 through virtual library services.

Libraries selected include:

  • The Commerce Public Library of the Piedmont Regional Library System
  • DeKalb County Public Library
  • Fulton County Public Library
  • Live Oak Public Libraries
  • The Statesboro-Bulloch County branch of the Statesboro Regional Public Libraries
  • Augusta-Richmond County Public Library and two of its branches, the Friedman Branch and the Maxwell Branch

The Georgia Public Library Service program Library Initiatives for Funding Technology (LIFT) provided technical assistance to apply for the Grow with Google grants. LIFT partners with public libraries to fund technology initiatives to support libraries as they build on existing programs and expand their services to the public by identifying grant opportunities, aiding the application process, and supporting the management and reporting stages.

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