The Mid-Continent Public Library has received a technology grant that will allow the library system to add an Early Literacy Station at 15 of its branches around the Kansas City area, including several in Eastern Jackson County.

The grant from the Missouri Secretary of State's office is for $28,609. It is funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for the nation's 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.

Mid-Continent developed its Early Literacy Stations to use digital learning to help young customers (primarily ages 2-10) be prepared to read at grade level. The stations are desktop computers at short tables with colored keyboards and headphones for children to use.

“They're clearly for kids,” said Rebecca Maddox, development specialist for MCPL.

The short lessons not only deal with the areas of literacy – reading, writing and phonics – but also have math, science and arts and music components.

“Kids choose different levels based on their ability and interest areas,” Maddox said. “They're very popular after story time. Kids view it as something fun, but it's clear there's an educational component.”

Mid-Continent already has 36 stations in place at its 30 branches – accumulated so the grant will allow the library system to place an additional station at half the branches.

Among the branches receiving an additional station are Buckner, Colbern Road in Lee's Summit, Grain Valley, Lee's Summit on Northwest Oldham Parkway, Raytown near Raytown High School, and South Independence on 35th Street next to Cargo Largo.

“It's based on current usage and branch capacity,” Maddox said. “Some branches are pretty small.

“With additional ELS units, more families can benefit from access to digital learning content.”

According to the Missouri Secretary of State's office, the Missouri State Library has approved 185 grant applications during the 2016 fiscal year, distributing $1,784,676 in federal awards.