Thursday, July 21, 2022

$50,000 Dunning grant will fund library technology upgrades

The Plymouth District Library has received a grant of $50,000 from the Margaret Dunning Foundation.

Library Director Shauna Anderson said the grant will support significant technology updates in the community meeting rooms.  With this grant, the library will update the audio-visual systems in the Walldorf and Dunning meeting rooms to better enable simultaneous online and in-person program participation, she said.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the library moved community programming to an online format, which was “very successful” Anderson said. 

Once in-library programs returned, it became clear that there are many in the community for whom online programming remains the best option.  Creating a simultaneous quality experience for both in-person and remote attendees, however, presented challenges beyond the existing failing technology.  The new system will employ sophisticated cameras and microphones that can effectively capture activity in these large spaces for an online audience, making high-quality hybrid programming a reality for our community, she added.  Meeting room users will also be able to simply plug in their device to access the full capabilities of the newly installed technology. 

“The grant-funded technology updates will allow the library to continue reaching the strong online participation we have seen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; it will also allow us to offer local nonprofits and community groups who use library meeting rooms the ability to expand their own audience, and create a more connected community,” Anderson said.

The new technology is expected to be in place by the first quarter of 2023 - the centennial year. Anderson said the library staff was grateful to Margaret Dunning and the foundation that continues her legacy of incredible support of both the library and the Plymouth community.  

The Margaret Dunning Foundation was founded by Ms. Dunning in 1997.  She was born in 1910 in Redford Township and moved with her mother to Plymouth in the 1920s.  During her lifetime, Ms. Dunning was a successful businesswoman, philanthropist, and civic booster.  She was a major supporter of many Plymouth non-profits, including the Plymouth District Library and the Plymouth Historical Society.  In addition to her personal philanthropy, Ms. Dunning was a classic car enthusiast and was a regular participant in the Woodward Dream Cruise with her 1930 Packard 740 Roadster.

Ms. Dunning died in 2015 at the age of 104.  Her estate provided additional funding for the Margaret Dunning Foundation, which continues to support her charitable interests and legacy.  For more information: