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Kitsap Regional Library gets two major funding boosts
$1 million donation will help build new Kingston branch; Allen Foundation grant will fund technology outreach through Coffee Oasis

Kitsap Regional Library through the KRL Foundation is the recipient of a $1 million donation to help build and furnish the new Kingston Branch Library in the Village Green Community Center.

The announcement came Jan. 26 at the “Gather at the Green” event, which served as the kickoff of general fundraising for the community center project. Kol Medina, executive director of the Kitsap Community Foundation, announced the donation from the family of the late Anne Y. Petter through KCF to the library.

Medina said the donation was prompted by the previously announced $1 million Birkenfeld Trust Grant to the Village Green Foundation. The donor felt motivated by the Birkenfeld grant to support the library portion of the community center project.

“We have been in discussion with the donor for some time now,” said Jaime Forsyth, KRL Foundation executive director. “From the beginning, her intent with this very generous donation was to inspire others to help build the library that this community deserves by pledging $1 million — half of the approximate cost of the library alone — and look to the community to match that amount.”

“This gift allows us to create a wonderful gathering space, far and above what we could have done without it.”

KRL and its foundation also announced that a $200,000 grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation will help fund creation of a mobile technical lab designed to serve Kitsap County teens, especially those considered at-risk.

“This grant will help us bring technology to teens throughout Kitsap County,” said KRL Director Jill Jean. “We believe this grant gives us a way to launch what will be a long-term mission for KRL: Creating ‘maker-space’ resources to help patrons become creators and not just consumers of information.”

The grant allows KRL to transport creative technology to the library system’s Coffee Oasis partner locations in Bremerton, Port Orchard and Poulsbo, as well developing “Creation Labs” in library branches, Jean said.

“Our goal is for all participants to increase their soft skills such as collaboration, imagination and critical thinking, as well as functional science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills,” Jean said. “This pilot program will focus on developing tangible products that incorporate artwork, video and audio at each session. We are tentatively planning on starting new classes quarterly. Each class can accommodate up to 15 students per week at each of the three venues.”

Jean said KRL expects to have its mobile lab, called the “Flash Drive,” running by September. The project will be led by Leigh Ann Winterowd, who serves as assistant branch manager and teen librarian at the Sylvan Way Branch Library in Bremerton.

“The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation believes in the mission and impact of local libraries, and the contribution they make to vibrant communities,” said Susan M. Coliton, vice president of Allen Foundation, in announcing the award. “We want to help libraries maintain relevance and financial stability by building lasting and meaningful connections with their patrons, especially young people.”

For the Kingston project, KRL and the KRL Foundation will continue to seek funding to help the Village Green Foundation achieve its dream of creating a complete community center worthy of Kingston. The Village Green Foundation has secured a state grant and private grants, including the one from the Birkenfeld Trust, to help support construction of the building, which will be located on Old Kingston Road.

The new 22,121-square-foot community center will be built and owned by the Village Green Foundation, a Kingston-based nonprofit. Funds to operate and maintain the center will come from a tax levy that Kingston-area voters approved in 2010 when they supported the creation of a metropolitan park district in the community.

If all goes as hoped, construction on the community center building will begin later this year.

The 5,000 square-foot library space within the center will be designed by Rice Fergus Miller Architecture and Planning of Bremerton. A community meeting will be hosted by KRL when architects have initial design concepts for the public to review.

KRL currently occupies a 1,260-square-foot space in the Kingston Community Center on State Route 104.

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