Chicago Library in Running for $150K Grant That Could Breathe New Life Into Institution

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A Chicago library is in the running for a complete makeover, and officials there are hoping that an infusion of funds can help to pump new life into the institution.

Andie Townhouse, the library director at Roberto Clemente Community Academy High School, walked into the building to find books that were scattered all over, and materials that had remained untouched for years.

“I knew I could fix this library, but I didn’t know where to begin with resources,” she said.

With big plans, and a limited budget, Townhouse began grantwriting, determined to find the resources the library needed.

“A library is a living, breathing thing,” she said. “When you close libraries, you are essentially saying you’re letting it die.”

That grantwriting ended up paying off when Roberto Clemente’s library was entered into the “Cloud Cuckoo Land Library Makeover” contest, sponsored by Heart of America.

That grant could ultimately be worth $150,000, and the Chicago institution is one of 10 libraries competing for the prize.

“We’d get new tech, new flooring and brand-new lighting,” Townhouse said.

Townhouse is one of just 80 librarians left in the Chicago Public Schools system, but she hopes that if the school is successful in winning the grant that they will help a whole new generation of students thrive.

“If we win this, this is a win for every Clemente student, and every CPS student who has never even met a librarian before,” she said.

Residents interested in helping the Clemente cause can visit the Heart of America’s voting website, with the ballot remaining open through Aug. 10.

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