IMLS Grant Award to EPL Will Help Serve Evanston’s Unemployed

The Evanston Public Library (EPL) is the proud recipient of a $149,023 IMLS CARES Act Grant. The grant, one of 68 awarded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, from more than 1700 applications, will fund specific EPL services directed towards those experiencing unemployment. The Chicago Tribune recently reported that Evanston’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed from 2-3% before the pandemic to 10% currently.

“The Library is committed to breaking down the barriers to services for residents in need and is constantly exploring the frontiers of what equitable access to resources means to Evanstonians,” said EPL Executive Director Karen Danczak Lyons.  “This grant will allow us to more effectively respond to the economic downturn and serve those who have the fewest resources in bouncing back from it. This is a time of unparalleled need in our community and the Library is here to help.”

EPL’s “Ready to Work: Bridging the Digital Divide for Tomorrow’s Workforce” grant will support multiple strategies for providing access to resources that can help people build the necessary skills to become job ready. Many Evanston residents lack broadband access and do not have reliable or any access to computers. They may also need up-to-date technology skills that are necessary to advance in the workforce.

As a result of this grant, EPL will rollout or augment programs and resources like:

  • Ready-to-Work Starter Kits that provide vitally necessary technology including a WiFi hotspot to provide internet access and a Chromebook that can be checked out for up to 3 months at a time.
  • Technology skill development courses in English and Spanish, ranging from basic computer skills to more advanced work.
  • Free access to online courses and certifications that build skills, augment qualifications, and offer certification and test preparation for a variety of fields.
  • One-on-one training with skilled Technology Tutors on topics like Computer Basics and mastering the Microsoft Suite.
  • Written materials in multiple languages describing all the free resources available to the community.

For more information about the services and resources offered by the Evanston Public Library to help with job readiness, please contact Heather Norborg, Lifelong Learning and Literacy Manager, at 847-448-8600 or visit us at

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.  


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