New Investment Coming to School Libraries Across Delaware

Funding will link library collections, broaden student access to books and materials

DOVER – Students will gain greater access to quality books through school libraries across Delaware with a $1 million state investment announced Tuesday by House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst and officials from the Delaware Library Consortium.

The funds, allocated to the Delaware Division of Libraries in this year’s state operating budget, will be used to integrate school libraries with the Delaware Library Catalog. This statewide library system links more than 70 libraries across the state to share resources and provide library users with the greatest possible access to books and materials, regardless of where they may be housed.

“We know that a great school library can take students, their teachers, and an entire school to the next level when it comes to achievement and building community,” said Rep. Longhurst, who secured the funding in this year’s budget bill. “These resources will help unlock the potential of school libraries across the state and give school librarians the tools they need to do what they do best – spark curiosity and foster a love of learning in our students.”

The new investment is an expansion of a pilot program championed by Rep. Longhurst and State Librarian Dr. Annie Norman to connect school libraries in the Colonial School District to the Delaware Library Catalog, broadening students’ access to materials outside the walls of their own school libraries.

“Rep. Longhurst’s leadership is instrumental in launching the first state initiative to address school libraries,” said Dr. Norman. “Connecting the school libraries to the statewide Delaware Library Catalog achieves the ‘last mile’ in ensuring equity of access for all Delaware children, regardless of whether they are taken to a public library.”

In addition, the new funding will provide school librarians with training on how to better modernize library collections and allocate resources to transporting materials between libraries. The funds can also be used to employ seasonal staff to help school librarians migrate to the statewide catalog.

“Connecting Delaware public schools to the Delaware Library Catalog will provide seamless and convenient access to information for thousands of Delawareans, which will support them for school, work, and throughout their lives,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock, whose department includes the Division of Libraries.

“This funding will help our school librarians better collaborate with the state system to ultimately serve our students better,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Mark Holodick. “By removing materials that are outdated and better cataloging current and popular ones to make them more accessible to our students, our school libraries will become even stronger resource centers for our students.”

The Delaware Library Catalog was first launched in 2006 and went statewide in 2010. It includes all Delaware public libraries as well as academic, special, and a few school libraries so far. Currently more than 70 libraries are sharing 2.5 million books and eMedia, promoting equity of access, improved literacy rates and lifelong learning.

“In the Colonial School District, we believe in the ‘Power of We’ and the importance of partnerships. In 2016, Colonial began an important partnership thanks to Rep. Longhurst that transformed libraries in our district. Working with Dr. Norman and her amazing team at the Delaware Division of Libraries, we reimagined our spaces and developed much needed library systems including collection data reporting,” said Tom Gavin, supervisor of educational technology and libraries for the Colonial School District. “Unfortunately, most school districts in Delaware lack the needed expertise and support that the Division of Libraries can provide. Thanks to this new investment, school districts and Delaware libraries will now have the ability to partner together to collaboratively improve school libraries statewide.”

For information on joining the Delaware Library Catalog/Consortium, contact Dr. Annie Norman at

Credit: Original Press Release by Representative Longhurst, Oct. 25, 2022

The Delaware Division of Libraries, a state agency dedicated to unleashing the potential in all Delawareans in partnership with Delaware Libraries and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, offers free access to the online catalog; Wi-Fi; computers/internet; eBooksDolly Parton’s Imagination Library; programs/services; community partnerships; and more!


ICYMI: Dolly Parton in Delaware for the Imagination Library Statewide Celebration

1,005 Delaware Children Signed Up in One Week

WILMINGTON, Del.– Governor John Carney, First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney, and Dr. Annie Norman of the Delaware Libraries on Thursday welcomed American icon Dolly Parton for a statewide celebration of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library surrounded by public librarians and library staff, reading and early education advocates, superintendents, principals, members of the General Assembly and members of the Cabinet. This event was a celebration that every child in Delaware from birth to age five, is eligible to enroll in this free book-gifting program.

Since the public announcement of Dolly’s arrival in Delaware last week, more than 1,000 Delaware children have been signed up for the Imagination Library. As of last week, over 21,000 Delaware children are enrolled in the program.

Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, Dolly Parton started her Imagination Library in 1995 to foster a love of reading for the children within her home county. Today, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is the world’s preeminent early childhood book-gifting program that is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading. In partnership with local affiliate partners, the program mails high quality, age-appropriate books to children from birth to age five – at no cost to families. Over 2 million books are mailed each month in five countries –every 1.4 seconds a book is mailed.

“The Imagination Library has deepened Dolly Parton’s legacy in the most meaningful possible way, through service to our children,” said Governor John Carney. “Thank you to Dolly Parton and her team for coming to Delaware to celebrate the Imagination Library of Delaware program, and thanks to Dr. Norman, my wife Tracey, and the amazing partners across the state that have made this program a success.”

In Delaware, every child under the age of five is eligible to receive a gift of a monthly book at no charge to families. Families can sign up for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library on Delaware Libraries’ website:

“With gratitude to all the partners, it is my privilege to serve as the honorary chair of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Delaware,” said First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney. “The Imagination Library books are a wonderful collection and I’m grateful I’ve been able to read them with young Delawareans since the program’s inception. I look forward to seeing more Delaware families sign up for this incredible program.”

“Delaware Libraries are delighted to facilitate Imagination Library for our youngest Delawareans and their families,” said Dr. Annie Norman, State Librarian. “Acquiring the reading and library habit early is a foundation for curiosity and success throughout life!”

Rewatch Thursday’s event:

About Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, the flagship program of The Dollywood Foundation, has become the preeminent early childhood book-gifting program in the world. In partnership with local community affiliates, the program has gifted well over 180 million free books in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and The Republic of Ireland.

Inspired by her father’s inability to read and write, Dolly Parton started her Imagination Library in 1995 to foster a love of reading for the children within her home county. Today, her program mails over 2 million high-quality, age-appropriate books each month directly to children’s homes. Each child enrolled in the program receives one book per month until their fifth birthday – at no cost to families. The impact of the program has been widely researched and results suggest positive increases in key early childhood literacy metrics. Penguin Random House is the exclusive publisher for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. For more information, please visit



Photo credit: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Governor Carney Announces $40 Million of American Rescue Plan (ARPA) Funding for Delaware Libraries

Funds for Nine Libraries Across the State

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney announced Thursday $40 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to be distributed to libraries throughout all three counties.

The investments are funded by the American Rescue Plan Act Capital Relief Fund, which was championed by Delaware’s Congressional Delegation – U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, along with Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. ARPA was passed by Congress and then signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11.

Capital Relief projects under ARPA must meet strict criteria to be eligible for funding. That includes funding projects that specifically enable work, education, and health monitoring – and respond to issues created or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of the Treasury has approved Delaware’s plans to invest in libraries statewide. Additional capital awards funded by ARPA will be announced soon.

“Children and families will benefit from these investments for generations to come,” said Governor Carney. “Delaware’s libraries serve our communities with resources, collaboration and creativity. Many of these investments are in our communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the central role libraries serve in our communities as hubs for job training, employment searches, education, COVID-19 test kit distributions and vaccination sites. I want to thank the Congressional delegation for their advocacy and look forward to seeing significant results from these investments.”

“When we were crafting the American Rescue Plan, we were looking at ways to make investments that will have a lasting impact for generations to come,” said Senator Tom Carper. “When we invest in our libraries, we are really helping someone find a job, providing a safe place for the community to gather and learn, and giving people access to resources that they wouldn’t normally have. I am proud of Governor Carney’s commitment to strengthening communities through investing in our much-needed libraries.” 

“Libraries house centuries of learning, information sharing, and free access to educational resources,” said Senator Chris Coons. “Investing in our libraries begins the next chapter for greater public education, social uplift, and a principled commitment to helping Delawareans fight the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m proud to support Governor Carney and my congressional delegation in recognizing the value of our libraries and their role in our social infrastructure and community health.”

“Libraries across our state and country play such a vital role in the communities they serve. Whether it’s giving Delawareans access to countless literary titles, serving as a meeting place for local organizations, to serving as an area of inspiration for the arts and the humanities – libraries are vital to the well-being of our communities,” said Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester. “That’s why I’m so thrilled to join Governor Carney and my congressional colleagues in announcing this much-needed investment in Delaware libraries – so that these pillars of our communities can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

“Our libraries are so much more than a place to check out books. They really are gateways for learning and discovery and allow our communities to come together and access so many vital services,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “I am so proud of the incredible contributions our libraries continue to make to our communities. Delaware libraries are setting the example for others to follow in the fight against COVID-19 and serving to make our state stronger and healthier. Thanks to Governor Carney and the congressional delegation, the impact from these investments, made possible through the American Rescue Plan Act, will be felt for generations to come.”

The $40 million of investments announced will improve nine libraries across the state. This funding will be used for new construction and improvements to existing structures, including:

  • $7 million to the Selbyville Library for a new building
  • $5.6 million to the Harrington Library for a new building
  • $750,000 to the Lewes Public Library for a new outdoor pavilion
  • $900,000 to the Milford Public Library for updates to HVAC, filtration, and ventilation
  • $250,000 to the Georgetown Public Library for updates to HVAC, filtration, and ventilation
  • $7.8 million to the Friends of Duck Creek Regional Library to build an expanded library
  • $11 million to the North Wilmington Library for a new building
  • $4 million to the Newark Public Library for a new building
  • $3 million to the Rehoboth Beach Public Library for upgrades

“Governor Carney’s strategic investment in libraries supports equity for communities throughout the state,” said Dr. Annie Norman, State Librarian. “Delaware Libraries are shovel-ready to strengthen the social services infrastructure for digital equity, workforce development, and more statewide.”

The Governor’s Recommended Bond Bill for FY 2023 announced in late January includes an additional $26.8 million in state funding to match the federal funding for the five new libraries.

For a full list of Delaware’s ARPA allocations, click here.

YWCA Delaware & Delaware Libraries Launch Social Equity Championship

Wilmington, DE – Thursday, January 20, 2022 — YWCA Delaware, in partnership with Delaware Libraries, has launched the Social Equity Championship, an e-interactive statewide social justice contest designed to promote awareness of economic, political and social inequities and provide opportunities for learning and civic engagement.

Read YMCA’s Full Press Release to learn more:
Press Release

“We are thrilled to have such an incredible partnership with Delaware Libraries that allows us to help deliver educational materials in an exciting way that fosters community connections while also uplifting social justice leaders through multiple mediums. This extraordinary opportunity propels our mission and increases accessibility to our programming in a truly interactive way,” said Stephanie Staats, YWCA Delaware CEO.

State Librarian, Dr. Annie Norman said, “Delaware Libraries provide opportunities and resources for lifelong learning for all Delawareans. We are pleased to partner with YWCA Delaware to contribute our free resources to this focused effort that will increase understanding of social justice and encourage participants to engage in community activities.”

Delaware Libraries Launch Statewide #GivingTuesday Campaign

Giving Tuesday
Friday, November 26, 2021

DOVER – For the first time in the organization’s history, the Delaware Library Association (DLA) is partnering with libraries across the state to launch a #GivingTuesday campaign to raise funds to support programs and services available at Delaware public libraries. From November 26 through December 2, donors can log on to and pledge to their favorite library, or to the general Delaware Libraries campaign which will be evenly distributed to Delaware public libraries.

Delaware Libraries make it happen by providing engaging, informational, and transformational programs, services, and collections.  This was never truer than during the COVID pandemic. Even while their buildings were closed, staff rallied to serve the community by providing:

  • Thousands of additional eBook, eAudio, and online program collections
  • Hundreds of thousands of hours of telephone and virtual reference sessions
  • Curbside and grab and go access to library materials, craft and STEM kits
  • Boosting signals to stable broadband, adding WiFi hotspots in parking lots, and providing devices for checkout
  • Using bookmobiles as full-service mobile libraries throughout their communities 

When you give to Delaware Public Libraries this Giving Tuesday, you’ll be giving the gift of libraries to thousands of Delawareans who rely on the services and programs of their local libraries.

Contribute to the advancement of Delawareans by donating this Giving Tuesday. Delaware libraries accelerate personal learning and innovation for all Delawareans, from the youngest to the oldest.  Starting at birth, Delaware Libraries support literacy with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program, which gifts a book monthly up until a child’s 5th birthday; to technology and life-long learning programs like Northstar, for the older generations.

Your donation will help Delaware libraries continue to provide technology & services that impacts our communities for the better. Libraries are the community bridge that connects people together.  Please join us this season in giving, so that Delaware libraries can continue to offer an exceptionally robust catalog of services, materials and programming.

If you wish to donate this #GivingTuesday ~


Assisting with this effort, EveryLibrary Institute has been working with Delaware’s libraries to provide training and the platform to receive online donations,  As a 501c3 non-profit organization, the EveryLibrary Institute acts as the fiscal agent to collect charitable donations from individuals and corporate donors and disburses them directly to either the library or a local Friends Group of the library at the close of the fundraising campaign. is the first and only crowdfunding website dedicated solely to innovative library and literacy projects in school, public, and academic communities. It is a one-stop fundraising platform for libraries and library support organizations that connects great ideas in need of crowdsourced funding with tens of thousands of potential donors in the state and across the country.  

The Delaware Library Association is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to advancing the cause of libraries and librarianship through advocacy, education, and public policy.  For more information about Delaware Library Association, visit their website at