Auburntown Public Library in Cannon County is receiving grant funds this year to purchase computers and other technology-related equipment.
Auburntown Public Library will receive $500. A total of 88 libraries in 64 Tennessee counties will receive grant funds through the program.
The grant funds will allow libraries statewide to buy a total of approximately 230 personal computers, 36 laptops, 36 wireless networking stations, 15 general software packages and various other items such as printers, scanners, monitors and external storage drives.
“Particularly during tough economic times, it is important that our public libraries have the resources citizens need,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “In many communities across our state, particularly in rural areas, public libraries are the only free source of Internet access people have. And without Internet access, it is more difficult for people to file for unemployment benefits, conduct job searches or become more competitive in the workforce by learning new skills through online training programs.”
“Our world is becoming increasingly technology-oriented,” Sen. Mae Beavers said. “Having access to a computer is fast becoming a necessity, not a luxury. So I am glad these grants will help make more computers available for public use.”
Staff members at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, which is a division within the Secretary of State’s office, provide advice and assistance to help library officials prepare their grant proposals, including suggestions about what type of equipment to include in their request. Also, network services coordinators with the State Library and Archives help libraries install the equipment after it has been purchased.
The grants, which total $200,500 statewide, are provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services through the federal Library and Technology Services Act. The grants are administered by the State Library and Archives. From 2004 through 2009, funding provided by the act has paid for the purchase of 1,220 computers for Tennessee libraries.
In order to qualify for funding, libraries are required to provide money from other sources that at least matches the amounts of their grant requests.