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Adapting for the Future

How the David M. Hunt Library Leveraged a Capacity Building Grant for Organizational Change

About David M. Hunt Library

Nestled in the heart of Falls Village, Connecticut, David M. Hunt Library has provided a myriad of programs and resources for over 125 years and is committed to being a community partner where all can learn, create, and connect in a safe, welcoming, and supportive space.

Libraries serve as vital community hubs, offering access to knowledge, resources, and services that empower individuals. They are essential infrastructure in rural communities, providing not only books but also valuable assistance and guidance on a wide range of topics, including health. Surprisingly, many Americans turn to librarians for health advice, highlighting the trusted role libraries and librarians play in promoting wellness and connecting people with reliable information.

Our Work with David M. Hunt Library

FCH’s Capacity Building Grant Program, launched in 2021, offers unrestricted funding to support organizational health efforts that increase the stability, effectiveness, and resilience of nonprofits. Through this program, the David M. Hunt Library was awarded a $10,000 grant in 2022 to undergo a strategic planning process.

This twelve-month-long process led to a plethora of strategic and programmatic changes including the transition of the library’s current Executive Director, Megan Sher from Interim Executive Director and the creation of the Assistant Director and Youth Services Coordinator position, which has enabled the library to deepen its community partnerships and increase its programming. As a result of its strategies to strengthen its youth programming – the library estimates that they now directly interact and serve one-third of Lee H. Kellogg’s population, Falls Village’s elementary school.

Another plus? The David M. Hunt Library now works collaboratively with more organizations, as well. The organization recently finished its participation in Libraries Without Borders, a learning group consisting of six libraries in Connecticut. Their participation has resulted in new ideas to revamp the library’s children’s section and helped in the development of a guided QR tour to encourage engagement in the library. And this year, a collaboration with The Connecticut Historical Society resulted in a Black History program.

In our recent grant check-in with Megan, she highlighted the crucial role of the flexible nature of this grant in empowering the library to explore innovative approaches and adapt quickly to meet the evolving needs of their community, further emphasizing the significance of unrestricted grants for small community-focused organizations.

Photo courtesy of Megan Sher, Executive Director of David M. Hunt Library. One of the many programs offered at David M. Hunt Library is a story time program for children.

Megan participates in FCH’s Nonprofit Community of Practice. Launched in 2023, the CoP centers and supports learning between nonprofit leaders, based on the belief that mutual support and shared learning will foster the most durable outcomes for our region.