Why Libraries Matter: Virginia Beach Public Library plays a critical, strategic role in our community. The library is no longer a quiet place to do research and pick up books; our branches are vibrant centers of learning, creativity and sharing. The residents of Virginia Beach come to the library to read and to study, but also to attend preschool pretend play programs or the English Conversation Club. To learn how to use the latest technology or how to turn an old t-shirt into a tote bag. To get help with a resume or to pick up a voter registration form. From early literacy education and the Summer Reading Challenge to workforce development and technology assistance, the library offers something for every single member of our community. In short Virginia Beach Public Library is so much more than just books, it is a destination where people come to work and play! Our Work Thanks to the generosity of donors like you, we provided thousands of dollars for special programs, materials, and technology for Virginia Beach Public Library (VBPL) each year. In FY 2022-2023 we granted over $99,000 for VBPL programs and resources, all of which the library could not have afforded with its operating budget alone. These opportunities included: Middle School Career Exploration – In partnership with Virginia Beach City Public Schools, this program brings 7th grade students from across Virginia Beach to the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library to learn about careers that they’re interested in from individuals working in those fields. Over five sessions, students will explore the performing arts, veterinary sciences, political science, journalism, graphic design, teaching, urban planning, video production, construction management, and social work. Students will have the opportunity to engage with the speaker, participate in hands-on activities, and interact with their peers. Older Adult Services Support – Using the concept of positive aging, VBPL will implement expanded services to the older adult population to provide rewarding experiences and combat social isolation throughout all adult life stages. Services will include material delivery to older adults who are unable to come to the library, an adult advisory group to assist with program planning, and embedded libraries in adult living facilities. Teen Services Support – VBPL provides a wide array of programs and services for teens, including recreational programs, building awareness of library services through outreach, and targeted programs for vulnerable parts of the teen community. This grant funds many activities, including but not limited to traveling program kits, Teen-Tober, and targeted and general outreach support. Cardboard Carnival – In partnership with Virginia Beach City Public Schools, the Cardboard Carnival will teach 50 students in grades 4-8 engineering design concepts, the basics of circuitry and coding, and other skills needed to create a carnival game. Each student will receive a cardboard box and a circuitry kit and will use what they learn in a series of after school programs to build their game. The program will culminate in a showcase at the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library where students will display and play their games and enter a drawing to win prizes. OrangeBoy Savannah – This cloud-based library management and marketing software helps libraries better understand how their customers use library services. VBPL uses data collected by the program to better allocate resources and notify customers about programs and services. Self-Service Laptop Dispenser -This piece of equipment will allow customers to interact with VBPL’s public computers with greater flexibility. Customers may check out laptops independent of library staff and use them wherever they’d like within the library building (the laptops will not circulate outside of the branch). Grant funding provides for the dispenser, while the laptops will be provided by VBPL. Library of Things: Explore Outdoors – Building on VBPL’s existing Library of Things, the Explore Outdoors collection will include items for outdoor activities including, but not limited to yard games, tennis and pickle-ball sets, and even surfboards! The Explore Outdoors collection will be housed at the Princess Anne Area Library and items will not be reservable; customers may check out items from what is available when they visit the branch. We also apply for grants from external organizations on behalf of Virginia Beach Public Library. These grants allow the library to offer our community unique opportunities that it could not otherwise afford. In FY 2022-2023 we received grants from American Library Association, Dollar Tree, the E. C. Wareheim Foundation, Internet Archives, the Town Bank Foundation, and the City of Virginia Beach Arts & Humanities Commission.