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WILKES ─ Wilkes County Public Library announced on July 23 it has received a $20,000 grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council as a part of N.C. CARES, a COVID-19 statewide relief program.

The funding awarded by this grant will be used to return paid work hours to the staff at the library. Everyone who works at the library has seen some reduction in their paid work hours for the year, due to the library’s 2020-2021 appropriation from Wilkes County being cut by 14 percent.

“It’s rare to see a grant that will pay for operational expenses,” said Appalachian Regional Library Director Jane Blackburn. “When Aimee James, the Wilkes County Librarian, saw the announcement about the grant she immediately forwarded the information to me, and I applied for it for the Wilkes County Public Library. We found out just last week that we will get the maximum amount the library was eligible for through this grant. We are happy to be able to return work hours and pay to our staff. It has been a stressful year so far, and this bit of good news was very welcome.”

More information about the Appalachian Regional Library, which includes the public libraries in Watauga, Ashe and Wilkes counties, can be found at

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