Alexander explained that one of the grants that the libraries received was the International Dyslexia Association Ontario’s Library mini grant, which supplies $500 for decodable books for the library.

“These funds have been used to purchase a starter collection of decodable books at both branches. I am very pleased to have received this grant. Response has been positive,” she says.

What are decodable books? Alexander explains that they are books that include text that has been carefully written using evidence-based strategies to support reading development. She says that these books are wonderful for all new readers but access to this type of book is vital to children with dyslexia. To ensure that children across Ontario have access to these decodable books, Alexander says that IDA Ontario’s mini grants will help Ontario’s public libraries buy these resources for their collections. Funds for the grant can also be used to buy books about dyslexia and the science of reading from an IDA Ontario recommended list of books as sources of reliable information.

“Science shows that the most efficient way to learn a word so it can instantly be recognized in the future is by ‘decoding’ it. Decoding means using knowledge of letter sounds and English spelling patterns to ‘sound out’ a word. Decodable books are purposely written to help beginning and emerging readers master decoding,” she says.

With regard to the other grant, the Ontario Trillium Resilient Communities Fund, Alexander says that she is still sourcing equipment and will have more details at a later date. This grant was for $13,000 and was procured with the help of CAO/clerk-treasurer Byran Martin. It will be used to buy equipment for loaning and programs, and they intend to purchase 20 tablets, two charging/storage boxes, four CPen readers (an assistive device that scans and reads out the words) and two Blue Yeti Bluetooth micros.

In addition to these grants, Alexander reveals a couple of other exciting initiatives now and in the near future. The libraries are currently hosting drop boxes for a food drive in support of the Madawaska Food Bank from Oct. 6 to 27. The food bank serves South Algonquin, Brudenell, Lyndoch and Raglan, Madawaska Valley and North Algona-Wilberforce. Non-perishable food items can be dropped of at both library locations. At the Madawaska branch (26 A Major Lake Road, Madawaska), the drop off times are; Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At the Whitney branch (33 Medical Centre Road, Whitney), the drop off times are; Wednesday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday from noon to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.