The Water Valley Public Library has been a hub for folks in the area that need high-speed internet. In these pandemic times, the need for fast internet is needed more than ever for those working from home and students studying online.
When it was announced that post-secondary students would be going online to learn this fall, librarian Lisette McCracken knew that the Water Valley Public Library would be able to help thus, the Supporting Rural Scholars Initiative was born. Essentially, students are able to rent the library twice a week to have a place to study and have dependable, fast internet. McCracken explains, “Our goal is to raise enough money to rent the building and pay two students to run the library twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, which will be open exclusively to rural post-secondary students to use as needed.”
The fundraising campaign to help the student's raise money for the rent followed the Scholars Initiative and the library and residents donated books for a book sale and held a bake sale as well. McCracken says that their goal was $4,500 and have about $1000 to go to cover the rent for the first term up until December. Following that they may have to do it all over again if online learning continues into January and more fundraising may have to be done again in the new year.
Those resident's in the area who understand the need for fast internet access have also come forward to show their support with monetary donations. A Fundly page (similar to GoFundMe) has been set up to raise funds for the initiative. The site is https://fundly.com/supporting-rural-post-secondary-students-during-covid-19-2