Illinois public libraries receive $2 million tech upgrade grants

A big boost was announced Thursday for public libraries in Illinois. 

Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias announced $2 million for 113 different facilities across the state while at the Cicero Public Library. 

The money is meant to help those libraries improve their technological capabilities, bringing their infrastructure up to date. 

It's also specifically aimed at under-served communities around Illinois. 

Winning libraries will get either $27,500 or $12,500, depending on the size of the population they serve.

The money can be used for things like adding hardware and software, expanding online collections and increasing Wi-Fi capacity.

Giannoulias also talked about just how critical those tools can be for communities. 

"As the world changes and technology evolves, libraries must transform as well so they can deliver programming and services that meet the needs of their customers and communities. Even at times in the pandemic when physical libraries were closed, they loaned e-books, CDs, and digital movies. More recently, computer labs at public libraries have become a true lifeline for people applying for jobs…," Giannoulias said. 

Eighteen of the libraries that are receiving the grants are located in Cook County

Giannoulias said altogether, the libraries getting these funds serve 1.2 million residents of the state.