Dutchess County, NY, Executive Marcus Molinaro announced yesterday that just north of $72,000 in funding had been awarded to eleven libraries across Dutchess County through a special allocation to the County’s Agency Partner Grant (APG) program. The County says the funding awarded through this grant is specifically aimed at bridging the digital divide and addressing technology barriers to literacy, early reading, literacy for those seeking jobs and English as a second language. Funding for the Dutchess Reads program was made available by the Dutchess County Legislature during the 2020 county budgeting process.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Today more than ever, as we maneuver through the uncharted territory of the COVID-19 pandemic, we see the importance technology has on our ability to learn, work and remain connected to one another. This grant will, in part, expand access to the internet to 63 households through hotspot lending programs that will be made available throughout the county. We thank the Dutchess County Legislature for its forward thinking to make this funding available to help residents of all ages enhance their lives by expanding access to the internet.”

Some significant awards include approximately $27,000 to the Poughkeepsie Public Library District toward the purchase of 14 iPad Airs and accessories to promote early literacy by encouraging reading and other interactive digital learning programs for children ages 2-5. The Poughkeepsie Public Library District will partner with the Poughkeepsie City School District (PCSD) by adding and making early reader content to the eBook catalog accessible through Sora, an application designed to link school and public library activities, and fund the Wi-Fi network connection to 50 donated hotspots that will allow PCSD students the ability to engage in distance learning. $5,300 was also awarded to the Northeast-Millerton Library to expand its internet access and build technology knowledge by purchasing three hotspots and three laptops to circulate to children to ensure access to remote education and to broaden career exploration access for adult residents.

County Legislature Chairman Gregg Pulver said, “During last year’s budget process, I offered this grant as an amendment because I understood the importance of increasing internet, computer and remote reading opportunities. In these trying times, these grants couldn’t be more appropriate.”

For a complete list of awards visit the County’s Website and for more information about the Agency Partnership Grant program visit the Department of Planning and Development website.