Library System Eyes Civility Grant

OCEAN PINES – A $5,000 civility grant is expected to benefit library patrons and community members.

On Tuesday, Library Director Jennifer Ranck briefed the Worcester County Library Board of Trustees on a $5,000 grant that the library system would apply for in the coming week.

Ranck explained the Howard County Library System’s Choose Civility program is offering the grant to state library systems.

“The idea of this grant is to give the local county libraries the opportunity to participate in this program,” she said.

According to Ranck, the money would be used to promote civility, respect, compassion and more through various library programs.

“There are different ways we can apply this grant money,” she said. “It might be something small. Maybe we take some of our story times and we may have something on manners, or friendship or being kind to animals, that sort of thing.”

Ranck said the Worcester County Library could also use the money to fund adult programs and activities, such as a community event called “The Longest Table.”

“You put as many tables as you can together and you invite people from the community to come and have conversation,” she said.

Ranck explained several areas across the country, including Howard County, have hosted “The Longest Table” event.

Strangers from the community have an opportunity to sit down to a meal and converse with each other on certain topics. Ranck said in Howard County participants were given open ended questions to discuss with each other.

“In this day and age everything seems so polarized and this brings people together,” she said.

Ranck told the board if the Worcester County Library secures the grant funding and chooses to spend that money on “The Longest Table” the event would most likely coincide with the opening of the Berlin branch in mid-June.

Regardless, Ranck said library officials were keeping their options open.

“The grant is due Friday, so we are still kicking around ideas,” she said.

Ranck told the board ideas not used in the coming year could be revisited in the future.

“We’ll be thinking about how we can incorporate some of this,” she said. “If we don’t do ‘The Longest Table’ this time, we can always think about doing it the year after.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.