CWU News

CWU Libraries Receives American Rescue Plan Grant for Mental Health Programming

Students utilizing Brooks Library's resources during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Students utilizing Brooks Library's resources during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Central Washington University Libraries has been awarded the Institute of Museum and Library Services American Rescue Plan grant, following a successful proposal centered around mitigating the lasting psychological and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds will be used to prepare a series of monthly events from January to May 2022, each focusing on a different aspect of the mental health crisis gripping the nation. Maureen Rust, student engagement and community outreach librarian, says this is the kind of role libraries are best suited to fill.

“I feel librarianships’ ethics and foundational documents are one of the world’s best-kept secrets,” Rust said. “They are an important part of protecting people’s right to access the materials that they want and provide the freedom to read, and to learn, especially in times of crisis.”

The series will feature a panel discussion about mental health with Kittitas County mental health resources, a book reading, discussion session, and author visit. In addition, there will be a discussion about processing traumatic events featuring CWU counseling and wellness professionals; a writing workshop focused on the self-love inherent in journaling, led by the CWU Arts and Humanities librarian; and a family workshop about growing with change and developing healthy habits to deal with an unforeseen crisis.

All of these events will be organized in collaboration with a variety of local partners. CWU has a long history of working well with its surrounding community, something Rust says has contributed to the success of past library programs.

“Ellensburg and CWU lend themselves well to collaborative partnership,” she said. “People are always willing and eager to share their expertise and their knowledge to help us with the programming that we do. It’s not just the library putting this on; it’s campus and community partners helping out too.”

The events aim to help build community resilience, defined in CWU Libraries’ grant application as “a measure of the sustained ability of a community to utilize available resources to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations.”

More information about the series will be available soon. Each event will be free and open to the public.

Media contact: Rune Torgersen, Department of Public Affairs,