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Charleston library events

Grant to create link between Charleston library, Eastern Illinois University

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Charleston Library Grant

Chris Houchens, director of the Charleston Carnegie Library, is pictured with Kristen Bertrand, program officer of the Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation and Angelique Elser, president of the Charleston library board.

CHARLESTON — Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation is pleased to announce the award of $26,980.78 to the Charleston Carnegie Public Library in the last round of funding from the Southeastern Illinois COVID-19 Relief Fund.

The Charleston Carnegie Public Library has been awarded the funds for “Coles County COVID-19 Assistance Program” beginning January 2022. The goal of the new program will be to connect county residents to the resources available to them, while also creating an impactful internship position for EIU students.

The program will also serve as a conduit between the various service organizations and resources throughout Coles County, with the hope of helping everyone better reach and better serve the residents of Coles County.

The program will be overseen by Library Director Chris Houchens and will be run by students from Eastern Illinois University, as this program will create a paid internship or paid independent study with departments at EIU, including the College of Health and Human Services and the Department of Public Health. Houchens will work with these colleges and departments to select graduate or undergraduate students working toward a degree that will be a version of the work this program encompasses.

Houchens states: “With the physical location that the library has within Charleston, we are poised to immediately begin helping individuals within the county. We will establish new relationships and solidify existing ones with the social service organizations within the county to ensure we are able to provide the most accurate information and referrals as possible. As the public library, we have preexisting relationships with a variety of service organizations in our area, and we will be able to utilize those relationships to help launch and establish this program.”

Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation, in partnership with Lumpkin Family Foundation, established the Southeastern Illinois COVID-19 Relief Fund to support organizations directly serving residents and families most affected by the pandemic. A fund advisory committee manages the Southeastern Illinois COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation manages more than 180 affiliated funds for the immediate and long-term benefit of communities in southeastern Illinois.


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