Warren Public Library to Receive Over $650k in State Grant

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HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Department of Education announced Thursday that the Warren Public Library was one of 18 libraries across the state that would be receiving part of $5.1 million in Keystone Grants for facility construction and rehabilitation.

The WPL is slated to receive $659,657.00 for various projects, including creating teen space and maker spaces; add ADA entrance doors; reconfigure restrooms; upgrade signage; update elevator; upgrade HVAC; upgrade lighting; and install security cameras.

The WPL had already raised over $700,000 last winter for the project, which will total 1.3 million.

“We’re very excited about this,” said WPL Director Kelli Knapp. “We applied for the grant in April and just found out on Nov. 12. This grant is going to cover all of those renovations.”

The upgrades involved with the grant will have a positive impact on everyone, Knapp noted.

“This is going to help every aspect of our community, from children, to teens, to adults, to people with disabilities,” she said.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the project is the teen space and maker space.

That will be located downstairs.

“The room downstairs is going to be cleared out,” Knapp stated.

It’s going to be a place for teens, built by teens. Knapp and her team, among their exhaustive research, sent out surveys to local teens to help with the project.

“We’ve done a lot of research,” Knapp said. “We’ve been planning this for a couple of years. We also had a teen advisory group that had to be shut down because of COVID, but we plan on getting them back together as well.”

It’s going to be, in a word, ‘cool.’

“The two biggest things, the first is a recording studio,” Knapp said. “We’re working in conjunction with the Warren Music Conservatory on that.

“There’s also going to be a maker space down there for all different kinds of activities – from digital photography, to crafts, and we’re hoping to do cooking and sewing as well.

“There’s also going to be a big screen TV and gaming, as well as a closed off meeting room for them to work on projects together. The plan is also for graphic design and research computers.

“It’s going to be a nice, relaxing place for them,” Knapp said.

Knapp noted that they’re hoping to start the process in the late spring or early summer of 2021.