If you live in the Deep River area of High Point and you want to get books and other materials from the High Point Library, things are about to get a lot easier for you thanks to some federal grant money the library received.

The $22,500 grant is being used for the purchase and installation of electronic lockers at Deep River Recreation Center at 1525 Skeet Club Road.  Those boxes will be used to serve library customers in the northeastern section of High Point.  That part of the city is growing rapidly and library officials want to make sure the city’s library services keep pace.

The electronic lockers, which are outside the recreation center, will allow library customers to request items to be sent to Deep River for pick up.  Library users can also return books and other materials in a book drop that’s next to the lockers.  The good thing about the service is that, unlike the High Point Library, the boxes will be open 24/7. 

The library has been providing materials through the rec center. However, without the electronic lockers, those efforts have to be handled by the staff at the center.

 According to High Point Public Library Lending Manager Shelly Witcher, library customers really like and use the remote service. 

“For the past several years, Deep River Rec Center staff have allowed us to send materials there for customers to check out, and we greatly appreciate their willingness to do this,” Witcher stated in a press release announcing the expanded service.  “This new system will relieve them of this extra task, and also give customers access to their materials even when the rec center is closed.  We’ve received lots of positive comments from our customers who love the convenience.”

The project is being supported by grant funds from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act.  The grant program is administered by the State Library of North Carolina – which is a division of the NC Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

The High Point Library’s Deep River locker system proposal won one of nearly 50 competitive grants for North Carolina libraries in the fiscal year that ended on the last day of June.

Across North Carolina, about $4.8 million in grant money is provided. The grant program is administered by the State Library of North Carolina, which funds library projects across the state that “advance excellence and promote equity by strengthening capacity, expanding access, and community engagement in North Carolina’s libraries.”

There are about 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums in the US, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services is the main source of federal support for the grants. The Institute’s mission is to “create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas.”

 The Institute provides funds to state library agencies using a formula based on population. States may use the money to support statewide initiatives and services or they can distribute the funds through competitive grants to public and academic libraries. 

More info about the Institute and the grants can be found at www.imls.gov.