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McCracken Library to Donate $250K to Sprocket
By West Kentucky Star Staff
PADUCAH - The McCracken County Public Library will contribute $250,000 toward the capital expansion and operational expenses of the nonprofit educational organization Sprocket.

According to a press release, the library's Board of Trustees approved the investment Wednesday at a special board meeting.  

The library’s contribution, along with funding from the City of Paducah and the McCracken County Fiscal Court, is anticipated to be matched by state grant dollars to fund a $1.1 million dollar expansion of Sprocket’s space in the Coke Plant in midtown Paducah. 

“We’re stronger when we work together,” said library director Susan Baier. “Collaborating with the city and the county allows us to leverage resources, and makes us eligible for competitive state matching funds to benefit McCracken County.”

According to its website, Sprocket is a non-profit 501C3 makerspace that serves as a pilot to help develop educational programs for the Paducah Innovation Hub as well as entrepreneurial innovations in the region. Sprocket will contract with Codefi, a Missouri-based co-working space and startup incubator in Cape Girardeau. Since opening in November 2014, Codefi has created 150 jobs while launching 40 startups that have generated over $15 million.

The library was among Sprocket’s first educational and programming partners. Through co-sponsored programs such as Next Level Coding Club and Lemonade Academy, participants gained digital skills and business fundamentals, heard from local business and technology leaders, and actively participated in hands-on learning activities not always found in a traditional classroom setting.

“The benefits this partnership brings to the library and the community are tremendous,” continued Baier. “This will give us capacity to expand our already successful youth coding programs. Working with Sprocket and Codefi, we can reach a greater audience and offer more advanced lessons in digital skills that can prepare them for 21st century careers.”

Baier said the partnership will also give the library access to expanded programming space and equipment, be positioned to better promote programs and services to technology sector employees and entrepreneurs, and will have the opportunity to offer satellite or “pop up” libraries in the Sprocket space.

The library’s forthcoming bookmobile, slated for a spring 2020 launch, also allows for taking the STEM resources of Sprocket on the road to reach Reidland, Lone Oak, West Paducah, and other areas of the county.

For more information about the McCracken County Public Library, visit mclib.net.

On the Net:

Sprocket Paducah website


Published 10:08 AM, Thursday Aug. 08, 2019
Updated 10:48 AM, Friday Aug. 09, 2019

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