Toolbox provides returning residents with phones, computers and other equipment

Toolbox provides returning residents with phones, computers and other equipment

The library’s $5,000 grant award is funded by the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the American Library Association, according to an ALA news release. It’s one of 16 public libraries selected to participate in the literacy initiative. “Funded projects allow libraries to develop collections, add new services or programs, or expand existing services or programs for adult learners,” ALA officials said in the news release.

Re-entry individuals can get a phone, computer, and other devices from a re-entry digital toolbox. As part of the American Dream Literacy Initiative, the McCracken County Public Library is providing citizens with phone and computer services. The re-entry digital toolkit is available for one month loan. Residents from nearby counties can register for a card at the Paducah Public Library. The McCracken County Public Library provided this image. A re-entry digital toolkit is now available to western Kentucky’s justice-involved community, thanks to a McCracken County Public Library initiative supported by the American Dream Literacy Initiative.


  • Emily Steele, adult and digital services librarian at the McCracken County Public Library, said having access to a nearby cellphone, laptop, and other technology devices and resources reduces barriers to re-entry and civilian life. Steele also sits on the Western Kentucky Reentry Council, which oversees 17 counties. The council advocates for the justice-involved population. Steele was instrumental in the grant and community outreach process. She said the four re-entry toolboxes are going to serve western Kentucky residents. Currently, there are no plans to acquire additional toolboxes, however, Steele sees the need growing.

  • The library recently announced re-entry toolboxes are available for residents in Ballard, Caldwell, Calloway, Carlisle, Christian, Crittenden, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Livingston, Lyon, Marshall, Trigg, Union, Webster, and McCracken counties. The re-entry digital toolbox contains a laptop, a WiFi hotspot, a flip phone, a flash drive, and a resource book. Toolboxes can be checked out for one month. Residents are required to sign up for a McCracken County Public Library card to use the toolbox.

Currently, the George Coon Public Library in Princeton does not offer any similar toolbox or service. Library personnel previously said efforts are being made to acquire laptops and tablets that patrons can take home. The American Dream Literacy Initiative aims to improve workforce development, strengthen basic education, expand client services, build community partnerships, empower adult learners, among other components. “American Dream libraries build replicable programs, develop coalition-building strategies and provide annotated lists of vetted resources for libraries across the country,” ALA officials said.