Millie Brooks receives national grant for small and rural libraries

Millie M. Brooks MicroLibrary, one of the branches of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS), has been selected as one of 100 libraries to participate in round three of Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries, an American Library Association (ALA) initiative that helps library workers better serve their small and rural communities.

The competitive award comes with a $3,000 grant that will help library patrons regarding food insecurity, with programming centered on children and how they relate to food insecurity. As part of the grant, CALS staff will take an online course in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to library work today. Staff will then host Community Conversations at Brooks MicroLibrary and Daisy Bates Elementary School. These community conversations are tentatively scheduled for the spring, running through the end of April.

“We are proud to be chosen for this amazing opportunity,” said Community Outreach Coordinator, Courtney Jones. “This grant will enable library staff to get to know our residents better and help us build a happier and healthier community for our families.”

The overall food insecurity rate in Arkansas is 17%, the second worst in the country. Children are affected at the highest rate with one in five Arkansas children not getting enough to eat. Hunger has also been linked to other issues, such as creating a barrier to learning that can stay with a child well beyond childhood.

If you are interested in getting involved or taking part in the conversation, please contact Courtney Jones at, or visit for more information.

About ALA 
Since 2014, ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative has re-imagined the role libraries play in supporting communities. Libraries of all types have utilized free dialogue and deliberation training and resources to lead community and campus forums; take part in anti-violence activities; provide a space for residents to come together and discuss challenging topics; and have productive conversations with civic leaders, library trustees and staff.
“Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries is an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL).”