MOUNT VERNON -- The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County received an emergency assistance grant from the United Way of Knox County for general operating support during the COVID-19 crisis.

Library Director John K. Chidester states that “The vision and mission of the Public Library and the United Way dovetail in a shared commitment to providing residents with the tools they need to succeed” and extends his thanks to The United Way of Knox County staff for supporting the Library at this critical time.

PLMVKC plans to use these funds for the expansion of digital services for patrons. These resources were lifelines for many patrons while the physical libraries were closed. During the shutdown, demand for these services increased exponentially.

Even with all branches now open, Library patrons continue to make use of remote digital resources: e-books, audiobooks, digital streaming services for educational materials, vocational coursework, films, and music. Library Technology Services have seen an uptick in requests for assistance with everything from navigating Zoom video conferencing to job-searches, and the United Way grant allowed the Library to meet increased demands on Outreach Services, the department that delivers books and other materials to homebound seniors and patrons of all ages.

“We are grateful to have community partners at United Way of Knox County that support our work, and make it possible for us to continue to provide patron access to these vital resources,” says Library Assistant Director Cassandra Peters. “Many low-income people and families rely on the Library.”

All digital and physical resources are available for free to Library patrons visiting any PLMVKC branch. The Library also offers assistance to “remote visitors” via telephone, email, and chat, all of which can be accessed through the Library website: For more information on The United Way of Knox County and how you can support its local initiatives in education, health, and financial stability in Knox County, please visit

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