Gwinnett County Public Library has been an awarded a $19,009 Sparks! Ignition Grant for Libraries from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Sparks! Ignition Grants for Libraries are a special funding opportunity within the IMLS National Leadership Grants for Libraries program. These small grants encourage libraries and archives to test and evaluate specific innovations in the ways they operate and the services they provide. Sparks Grants support the deployment, testing, and evaluation of promising and groundbreaking new tools, products, services, or organizational practices.

With the award, GCPL will develop “Homegrown Gwinnett,” a community gardening initiative. The library will experiment with the use of space saving aeroponic Tower Gardens across all 15 branches. The project has the dual benefits of providing STEM learning opportunities for library patrons as well as providing fresh produce for area food banks, leveraging local partnerships and reinforcing the library’s role as a community anchor organization.

“Gwinnett County Public Library is pleased to be awarded this IMLS grant which will strengthen and enhance our educational initiatives and outreach,” says GCPL Executive Director Charles Pace.

“Local children will be able to learn about how food is grown as well as sustainable agricultural practices. In addition, we plan on donating any surplus generated to local food pantries as part of a strategy to increase food security in our community.”

Installation and staff training will take place over the next several weeks with programming to follow.