Milwaukee Public Library has announced it is the recipient of nearly $1.5 million in funding from AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and community volunteerism. The funding, which is being awarded to the Library through the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation, will be used to launch a new program, MPL AmeriCorps, and support 20 full-time members who will teach information and literacy lessons to 4th-10th grade students in Milwaukee area schools and facilitate book-based and STEAM activities in MPL branch libraries for youth of all ages.
Funding will be provided for three years: $432,000 in 2022-2023; $453,600 for 2023-2024; and $476,280 for 2024-2025. Recruitment is underway for the 20 members who, over an 11-month term of service, will serve in schools, libraries and youth-serving community organizations to help young people develop a love of reading, increase information literacy, and build relationships that help bridge the gap between in-and out-of-school learning. Members will teach standard-aligned classes, lead after-school activities at branch libraries, and support MPL’s Summer Reading Program. MPL AmeriCorps members will also be eligible for $6,495 each upon completion of service for education costs or to pay down student debt.
“The work that will be done as a result of this funding will go a long way toward bridging the skills gap that creates a barrier to future success for our youth,” said Library Director Joan Johnson. “To be able to put boots on the ground in our communities to further instill literacy skills and technical knowledge while creating positive relationships with adults is a gift that benefits our entire City.”
“Our libraries provide important support for young people in Milwaukee, and this addition to the libraries’ offerings amplifies that work,” Mayor Cavalier Johnson said. “I thank AmeriCorps. The work the agency is undertaking adds to our efforts that will make Milwaukee stronger, safer, and guide our young people to greater success.”
MPL gratefully acknowledges the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation, with generous support from Herb Kohl Philanthropies, American Family Institute and the Northwestern Mutual Foundation. This project was also made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Special thanks also to partners in the Milwaukee area schools, including Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) and Seton Catholic Schools. Additional partners are being finalized.
“The MPL AmeriCorps program is a showcase of what is possible thanks to the strong public/private partnership enjoyed by MPL and the MPL Foundation,” said Ryan Daniels, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Public Library Foundation. “The MPL Foundation is proud to serve as a resource for the library to enhance fiscal health by raising additional funds to supplement, leverage and maximize public dollars. The opportunities that strategic fundraising make possible are crucial as MPL continues to broaden and deepen its role as an essential community resource.”
Information sessions are being scheduled for people interested in applying to be part of the team. Dates and times, links and contact information are available at mpl.org/AmeriCorps.
About Milwaukee Public Library
Milwaukee Public Library is an anchor institution that helps build healthy families and vibrant neighborhoods – the foundation of a strong Milwaukee. Since 1878, Milwaukee Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for residents of Milwaukee and beyond. With 13 locations, and more than three million items in circulation, MPL offers free access to a rich collection of materials both physical and digital, access to technology, classes, exhibitions, programming and more. From toddlers to scholars, MPL serves more than one million patrons who come through its doors annually and many more around the globe who use its resources at www.mpl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, MPL relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support Milwaukee Public Library at mpl.org