Recovery Act Grant Awarded To Cannon County Library

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WASHINGTON — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced investments in 30 states that will create jobs by building and enhancing libraries in 129 rural communities across the nation.

The projects are being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).

The Cannon County Library System received a $2,042 grant.

Congressman Bart Gordon said the grant will be used to establish a new laptop lab that will include additional computers and an instructor.  

“America’s libraries have always been a source of pride and a destination for learning. They are also increasingly becoming the first stop for all kinds of community needs -- a place to apply for jobs, learn about public programs, and participate in distance education,” Gordon said. “These grants will help equip our rural libraries with the technology they need to fill these new roles.”

The $2,000 grant from USDA Rural Development will allow the Cannon County Public Library System to purchase six new laptops, a special laptop for the visually impaired, a digital projector, a printer, a wireless router and assorted software.

The new equipment will increase the availability of Internet access for patrons. The grant will also allow the library to hire an instructor to conduct classes and help patrons hone their computer skills, according to Library Director Rita Allen.

“Our existing computers have seen heavy use, especially in the last year or two. Some patrons have come to the library to access information about benefits, some to supplement their education,” Allen said. “I am terribly excited about the potential of this new laptop lab. I’m particularly excited we will be able to offer free computer instruction.”

"Libraries are the centerpiece of rural community life, but in many cases they need additional funding to provide rural residents with computer access, modern equipment and new training and educational opportunities," Vilsack said. "These Recovery Act investments in our nation's libraries will serve rural America for generations to come."

Today's announcement includes funding for computer equipment to be installed in 70 rural Tennessee libraries, like the one serving the isolated Appalachian town of Sneedville. As with more than 80 percent of rural public libraries in Tennessee, that small library provides the only free public access to the Internet for a community of 6,700 people. These communities have some of the lowest rates of home Internet access and highest rates of unemployment in Tennessee.

The Tennessee Library Initiative is a partnership between the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the Office of the State Librarian and USDA Rural Development. Together they are investing more than $1.2 million to increase the capacity of these small libraries to provide workforce training and increase educational opportunities for the communities they serve.

The town of LaFollette, Tenn. will also receive a USDA Rural Development community facilities loan of $1,000,000 and grant of $200,000 for needed renovations and a 2,000 square foot expansion.

Elsewhere, the Recovery Act is helping to promote library and research funding. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Library in Mansfield, Mo., has been selected to receive a $200,000 grant to construct an archival library near a museum and visitor's center complex located on a 173-acre site known as Rocky Ridge Farm. The proposed 6,000-square-foot library would provide library services, archival and research rooms, multi-purpose rooms and allow children and adults the opportunity to conduct historical research.

The $15 million in Recovery Act funding being announced today is being provided through USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities Program. It will be combined with $10.2 million from other sources. Funding of each loan and grant is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the agreement. Please click here for complete list of projects. Altogether, 190 libraries across the country have benefited from Recovery Act funding.

USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities program helps finance essential community facilities for public use in rural areas. These facilities include child care centers, hospitals, medical clinics, assisted-living facilities, fire and rescue stations, police stations, community centers, public buildings and transportation. Through this program, USDA ensures that such facilities are available to all rural residents. These funds are available to public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized Indian tribes. More information about USDA Rural Development can be found at

President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law on Feb. 17, 2009. It is designed to jumpstart the nation's economy, create or save millions of jobs and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief and protect those in greatest need.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of 6,100 employees located in Washington, D.C., and 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees.

More information about USDA's Recovery Act efforts is available at . More information about the Federal government's efforts on the Recovery Act is available at

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Members Opinions:
September 24, 2010 at 5:28pm
More of that government money-- better enjoy while you can--GOP will make sure those earmarks and stimulus funds end--or will thye. Didn't Lamar line up for 200 million?
September 24, 2010 at 5:50pm
A dose of reality is in order. There are people involved with the library that could write a $2,000 check to it at the drop of a hat. A good fundraiser would bring in that much. We're not talking about a lot of money here.
September 24, 2010 at 8:20pm
Another dose of reality: While I am happy the library system was awarded this grant, it is not "free" money. In fact, it's a case of the federal government forcing the taxpayers of Cannon County to make a contribution to the library system, whether they want to or not.
September 25, 2010 at 7:33am
Courier--didn't the local law enforcement agencies receive 20 to 25 thousand dollars recently in grants. Government again giving away tax dollars willy-nilly.
Rise up Tea Partiers--where are you?
September 25, 2010 at 8:16am
You're comparing law enforcement to libraries? Law enforcement is an essentially government service. Libraries are a luxury and could and probably should be funded by donations and usage fees.
September 25, 2010 at 9:10am
"Libraries are a luxury and could and probably should be funded by donations and usage fees."
As is healthcare for old people subsidised by the government along with retirement income for old people in the same manner, as are national parks (we can do without), highways and roads (we traveled before the federal government build--make them all toll roads built by private money), same goes for airport and river channel dredging, sand replacement along the ocean beaches, canals, leves for those who want to live in flood plains, window dressing for the county square, teachers--parents could educate at home---why the need for schools, NPR and Public Television and the list goes on and on. The list is long, long and longer where government money, our tax dollars have been used--even to the extent of "nation building" by presidents.

September 26, 2010 at 10:44am
I agree with CannonCourier. A grant isn't free money. The money has been taken away from from people and given out as the government sees fit. Much of the money is taken from people who have never heard of some of the places, like Woodbury, where the money is spent. I am not saying this is a bad use of money. All I am saying is a grant isn't free money and each time we see that a grant has been given out to Cannon County we should understand that it isn't too far removed from being a welfare payment to the county.
September 26, 2010 at 3:13pm
I have to disagree with Cannoncourier. While law enforcement definitely needs our support both financially and prayerfully, our society would move backwards without entities like libraries. If we got more young people involved in creative pursuits such as those provided by our libraries, schools and sports we would not need to spend so much money on law enforcement. If our young people had something to keep them off the streets, Judge Melton would not be so busy. We need our library. It would be wonderful if we could afford to spend more of our hard-earned dollars on law-abiding citizens and less on those who choose not to be good citizens. I know our law enforcement would love to have less to do. If we want to support law enforcement, let's help by giving our young people an alternative to criminal behavior.
September 26, 2010 at 4:05pm
The point I was trying to make is that I think we have reached the point that taxpayers can not afford to pay for all of the things that different people believe are needed, and that priorities need to be considered. Our current generation and future generations are already in debt because we can not afford our current list of needs. That situation is not sustainable. At some point, some needs will have to be sacrificed. To deny that is ignoring reality.

September 27, 2010 at 5:33am
"needs will have to be sacrificed." and access to and availability of educational material should be the absolute last place we should cut funds.
Look to the entitlements, not education.
September 28, 2010 at 7:44am
Our problem is we now define the THINGS WE WANT as the THINGS WE NEED. If we were happy with needs as opposed to wants we wouldn't be a nation of fat people living like kings and queens on future wages in financial distress while on anti-depressants and pain medications for stress. My existence entitles me to want, demand and deserve everything everyone else has. It has taken many generations to turn ourselves into these animals of self existence. I fear, it will take generations to return us to being happy to exist instead of existing to be happy.

As for the library, I have mixed emotions. I have spent many hours in many libraries around our nation and they have help me tremendously. There is no way way I could have accomplished the things I have without the knowledge and information obtained from these library. To think of charging for library privileges is a crazy. Most of the people who should be in our libraries, don't have Extra funds. Now for the mixed part, my personal need for the library dropped drastically once I became connected to the world wide web.
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