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story.lead_photo.caption Westside Eagle Observer/SUSAN HOLLAND Gravette Mayor Kurt Maddox, Gravette Public Library manager Karen Benson, library staff members, and members of the Greater Gravette Chamber of Commerce gather Tuesday, Oct. 1, to accept a $7,000 grant check from the Best Buy Community Foundation. Pictured are Mayor Maddox (left, front), Mary Kay Kelley, library patrons Rebekah and Naomi Vanlandingham, Kathryn Johnson, Santana Mead, manager of the Rogers Best Buy store Barry Hastings, Chamber president Fred Overstreet (left, rear), Karen Benson, Cathy Crawford, Brittany Mangold and Erik Burkland.

GRAVETTE -- Mayor Kurt Maddox and Mallory Weaver, Gravette's communications director, visited the Gravette Public Library on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 1, to join Karen Benson, library manager, and her staff for a check presentation. Employees of the Best Buy store at Rogers were on hand to deliver a check for $7,000 representing the Best Buy Foundation Community Grant recently received from the Best Buy Foundation.

After the formal check presentation, Benson thanked Best Buy and explained that the grant money would be used for the library's STEAM @ The Library program which began Sept. 9.

The afterschool program gives opportunities for students in grades 6 through 12 to explore science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics through projects that include computer coding, graphic design, circuitry and robotics. Students may attend Maker Monday, Tech Tuesday, Wear-It Wednesday and Code Club Friday sessions where they choose from over 25 projects and complete tasks to earn badges. Benson also plans to do a makeover of the Learning Center room at the library with part of the money.

Barry Hastings, manager of the Rogers Best Buy store, said that the Gravette Public Library received the Community Grant largely because of Benson's engagement with the community and her vision of what she wanted to do at the library. Best Buy, in addition to giving these grants, is investing in Teen Tech Centers throughout the United States.

"Best Buy's mission is to enrich people's lives with the help of technology," Hastings said. He told about the Geek Squad teams that are a part of over 1,100 Best Buy stores and are available to install and repair tech products in one's home. They are available to answer questions and solve tech problems 24 hours a day and he said his desire is to promote learning and interaction between the Geek Squad, Best Buy and area youth.

Mayor Maddox praised Benson for the drastic changes she has made in the library since being hired in 2017. "The library is not just about books," he said, and noted improvements Benson has made at the library and the many programs that have been added, resulting in increased patron usage. He noted that she could not have done all she has done without the assistance of the great staff that works with her.

Benson again expressed her appreciation for receiving the grant and noted that patron visits, circulation numbers and computer use at the library continue to grow.

Community on 10/09/2019

Print Headline: Gravette Library receives $7,000 Best Buy grant

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