By Mary Thurwachter
Kristine Kreidler hasn’t even been at her job a year and already Lantana’s new library director has amassed six grants worth $98,000.
Her good work isn’t going unnoticed. During a municipal meeting in July, Town Manager Deborah Manzo announced one of Kreidler’s most recent wins, a Library Services and Technology Act grant awarded by the state from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
“Kristine, you have been such a tremendous asset since you’ve been here for the town, I really appreciate everything you’ve been doing,” Manzo said. Kreidler started working for the town last November.
The grant money will be used to create a 21st century community library and to fund the LABtana concept with early literacy computers for the youngest patrons, coding robots for kids, and recording equipment and Apple computers for teens, according to Kreidler.
“For the adults, we will be purchasing a smartboard for the meeting room, along with a camera and podcasting equipment,” she said. “The idea is that the space could be used for patrons who are trying to start small businesses, whether that is online or traditional brick-and-mortar businesses.
“We also want to hire instructors who mirror Lantana’s population and create a thriving space where they can bounce ideas off of each other and more.”
Other grants the library has secured this year are a Young Adult Library Association Collection Development Grant; a Public Library Association Inclusive Internship Initiative Grant, which funds a summer internship and travel for the mentor and student to attend workshops in Washington, D.C., and Chicago; an American Library Association Census Equity Fund Grant; Florida’s State Aid to Libraries Grant; and a CARES Act grant from Florida Humanities for COVID-related supplies and a virtual homework helper. It is designed for kids who may be having problems with distance learning.
Kreidler, 38, who grew up in Lantana and attended Lantana Elementary School, Lantana Middle School and Santaluces High School, said she enjoys the grant application process.
“I have always loved writing and once upon a time, I wanted to be a creative nonfiction/memoir writer. My bachelor’s specialization was in English/creative writing and women’s studies,” she said. “I love grant writing and trying to find that unique angle that catches the eye of grant panels.”
The library, at 205 W. Ocean Ave., is about to undergo a $748,636 renovation expected to begin this fall.
“Hopefully, it will be complete in time for Lantana’s centennial in April,” Kreidler said. “If we are lucky enough to be through our COVID days, we would like to have an exhibit opening here and programs to help celebrate the centennial.”