Library receives technology grant

On May 27, 2011, in News 2011, by Mark Norris

Dyersburg State Gazette
May 27, 2011

Officials at McIver’s Grant Public Library were elated on Wednesday to welcome state and local leaders bearing a check for over $14,000.

The library is one of more than 70 libraries across the state chosen to receive a grant to upgrade its technology. The funds will be used to provide computer equipment, training, educational opportunities, Internet access and other enhancements at the McIver’s Grant facility.

The grant – $14,034 for the just state’s portion – also allows for expanded services at the library designed to provide citizens with the resources to look for employment opportunities or to develop the skills needed to find a better job.

The initiative provides citizens free access to the Tennessee Electronic Library, an online collection of more than 400,000 resources. Local residents may access TEL articles, videos, e-books, podcasts and other reference materials at the library.

In a quest to strengthen rural communities, the grants have been created through a partnership between the Office of the Secretary of the State, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. The partnership will distribute a total of $1.2 million to libraries throughout the state through this grant process.

Additional funding will be presented to McIver’s Grant Library officials through USDA Rural Development in the near future.

The grant will be administered by the Tennessee State Library and Archives, a division of the Tennessee Department of the State that has already assisted the facilities in finalizing consent agreements.

On Wednesday, employees of McIver’s Grant Public Library welcomed Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, Tennessee State Reps. Craig Fitzhugh and Bill Sanderson, Hannah Powell of Congressman Stephen Fincher’s office, Harriet Cannon of USDA Rural Development, Dyer County Mayor Richard Hill, Dyersburg Mayor John Holden, Library Board members and residents of the community.

“(I am delighted) to be here to present the state part of a partnership between the federal and state governments,” said Hargett after the check presentation. “Today, people need more and more technical skills and access to computers. The library is the only source of free Internet service in some communities. Libraries in rural areas play an especially important role in connecting citizens with the resources and opportunities that are oftentimes isolated to urban areas. These grants will go a long way toward providing vital access to computers and the Internet, which is particularly helpful in some of the areas that were hit the hardest by the recession.”

Hargett commended McIver’s Grant Librarian Sharon Simpson and members of the library staff for the aid they provide residents in negotiating the Internet, filling out job applications, disaster relief forms, and even for babysitting as parents take advantage of the library’s computers.

“Libraries are now so much more than a place to check out a book,” Hargett told those attending the presentation. “This is a portion of your money come back to you. I get the good job of going around presenting the checks. But I want thank you, Library Board members, for your work. I understand the importance of Library Board members. It is clear when you come into a community, which ones have good boards.”

Hargett commended members of the State Legislature and officials with USDA Rural Development for their ongoing support of McIver’s Grant Public Library.

“I am looking forward to coming back in the future and making a bigger presentation to help you with your big library,” said Hargett.

“I would like to thank you all for your support of our library,” said Simpson. “This is so cool!”

“I would like to thank both of our mayors here,” said State Sen. Mark Norris. “This community has really been through it, and on a year to the date from the last flood. It’s refreshing to stand here and represent the future.”

“It is tremendous, the work you have done (to fund your new library),” said State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh. “To put all this together so quickly. “(We) are working hard (for your project). I appreciate the crowd that’s here today.”

“It is good to see you guys here today,” said State Rep. Bill Sanderson, who said when he heard the library needed help funding the new building, he quickly drafted a letter to Hargett requesting several thousand dollars for the project. “A few days later, he saw me in the hall and said, ‘We can do some things, but we cannot do all of them.’ We are working on that and we are so excited to see so many here today.”

“This was wonderful,” said Simpson after the event. “I was so excited. The support was wonderful and the encouragement was amazing.”

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