In 2017, the Aberdeen Area Community Foundation obtained a grant and served as fiscal sponsor for a project to create the A Place, a special area in the K.O. Lee Aberdeen Public Library meant to help newcomers in Aberdeen. The grant came from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation through its Knight Communities Challenge. Aberdeen is one of Knight Foundation’s 26 Knight Communities across the country, cities in which Knight-owned newspapers used to operate. Initial grant funds for the A Place covered the cost of computers offering access to databases and job services to support newcomers’ integration into the community, including those for whom English is not their first language.
Recently, the AACF distributed the remaining more than $19,000 in grant funds to the library to upgrade and expand the A Place and to address needs arising from the COVID pandemic. The funding is helping to purchase items such as language learning software, e-books, audiobooks and other materials in multiple languages, as well as an outdoor sound system and technology to support programming utilizing online and social distancing, plus other related materials.