‘We have constant requests for spaces in which to conduct business calls, online meetings, and work areas’

Camden Public Library awarded grant through "Remote Work through Libraries" initiative

Wed, 08/23/2023 - 5:00pm

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Camden Public Library
Camden, ME 04843
United States

CAMDEN — The Camden Public Library has been awarded funding to support “Remote Work through Libraries” through a grant from the Maine State Library. The grant will be used to create remote-working spaces within the third-floor Reading Room.

“We have constant requests for spaces in which to conduct business calls, online meetings, and work areas,” said Nikki Maounis, Camden Public Library Executive Director, in a news release. “With the help of this grant we are finally able to build the capacity to host such meetings, on a limited basis.”

The grant is part of Governor Janet Mills’ $2 million Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan and the “Remote Work through Libraries” initiative from The Maine State Library and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. The Camden Public Library is one of 39 libraries in the state to receive funding through this program, which will support Maine libraries’ capacity to provide targeted resources, services, and physical space to support remote and hybrid workers across the state. Business owners and entrepreneurs that operate primarily online will also be served. 

The Remote Work through Libraries Initiative selected libraries based on a competitive grant program that focused on libraries serving communities where access to business centers or coworking spaces are lacking, or where there are barriers preventing some remote workers from taking advantage of existing facilities. 

The Camden Public Library received a $25,000 space renovation grant, which will be used to create designated remote working spaces in the third-floor Reading Room, while preserving the space’s unique historic character. The goal of the project “Re-Working the Reading Room” is to better provide working space for those in the community that need it.

“Along with powerful WiFi, we aim to provide security and comfort during the course of a remote worker’s day,” said Maounis. “More specifically, the library will purchase more ergonomic chairs, provide easy access to table-top electrical outlets, and create an area to conduct business calls and video chats so that remote workers can comfortably spend time using the library.”

“Unlike Maine’s larger cities,” added Maounis, “our geographical area has almost no formal co-working facilities, not to mention cost-free spaces. Meanwhile, local restaurants and coffee shops can be time-limited and expensive, and especially crowded and noisy during the busy tourist seasons. That makes our Reading Room a valuable resource for those working remotely.”

The Library hopes to complete the project this winter.