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Library receives grant to promote fine-free initiative

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WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – The James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St., was the recipient of a $45,760 grant from the Williamsport Lycoming Community Fund at the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania.

The funds will be used for a broad marketing plan to promote the Brown Library’s “Fine-Free Initiative,” which began in early 2021.

“We found that individuals who could afford to pay fines on late materials met fine obligations, and others that could not afford to pay fines lost their opportunity for access to borrow free informational, educational and life-long learning materials from the library,” said Barbara S. McGary, Executive Director of the Brown Library. “In some cases when adults lost access, they stopped bringing their children in the library. Members of our community who need us the most lost access and became non-members of the library.”

This grant will allow the library to implement a comprehensive marketing and outreach plan to connect with patrons that were lost due to fine obligations, and to families that may have never used the library and have little or no knowledge of the ways in which the library can be their place to go, to learn, connect and grow.

The goal of the project is to increase the number of members to 50,000, McGary added.

“Increased library membership and usage saves money for local families,” she said. “It changes lives by improving literacy and encouraging lifelong learning.”

The James V. Brown Library is open for browsing and holds pick up from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. To place a hold, visit or call 570-326-0536 during the library’s operating hours. The library also is open for public computer usage and for services such as printing, faxing, copying and scanning. Walk-in passport services are available.

The First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania works to improve the quality of life in north central Pennsylvania through community leadership, the promotion of philanthropy, the strengthening of nonprofit impact and the perpetual stewardship of charitable assets. FCFP strives to create powerful communities through passionate giving. For more information, visit

The James V. Brown Library, 19 E. Fourth St., Williamsport, Pa., is the place to go to learn, connect and grow. Founded in June 1907, the library champions the love of reading, opens new doors to lifelong learning, provides a haven to those who seek and ensures the preservation of public library services for future generations. The library has more than 225,000 visitors in a year and circulates a half-million items annually. A member of the Lycoming County Library System, the James V. Brown Library participates in PA Forward, a statewide initiative to promote literacies in our communities to power a better future for everyone.