Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White has awarded $42,617.50 to the Pekin Public Library through an annual Illinois grant.

The Illinois Public Library Per Capita and Equalization Aid Grant is awarded to all Illinois public libraries, according to cyberdriveillinois.com. The Equalization Grants Program helps public libraries with low tax bases to have a minimum level of funding for library services. This year, White awarded $15.4 million in grant money to 630 libraries, which, in total, serve almost 12 million patrons, according to a Jessie White news release.

“I am proud of the outstanding service Illinois’ public libraries provide to our communities,” White said in the release. “Our libraries are the best and most reliable information resource available to citizens, and I am pleased to be able to provide these grants each year.”

Jeff Brooks, director of Pekin Public Library, said libraries are limited in what they can use the money for each year. They can’t use it on operational expenses like heating, lighting, equipment and repairs.

“This is intended to be supplemental to what we already do, as we certainly cannot count on this funding from year to year,” Brooks said. “It can be used for the purchase of library materials that our customers check out, such as paper or electronic books, (and) for educational/cultural programs. We can also use the funds for services that directly impact customers, such as public printing; for paying part of the salary of certain positions that directly provide certain services that meet grant requirements; and staff training costs.”

The library should be receiving the full funding amount of $42,617.50, Brooks said, but since the state can have lean years, it has in previous years and may this year receive $8,000 or even $16,000 less than the full funding amount.

The Times was not able to reach the library when it sought to learn what the library may specifically use the money for this year.

For more information on the grant program, visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/grants/plpc_equalization.html.