Justin Potter Library of Smithville and the Alexandria Public Library are among dozens of rural libraries across Tennessee that will share in nearly $1.5 million in combined federal and state grants to provide computers, education courses and job skill training. The grants are targeted to help Tennesseans improve computer-related skills so they will be more competitive as they seek jobs.
The libraries in Smithville and Alexandria will each receive a total of $16,013
The project is the culmination of more than a year’s effort by the Department of State and the Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD). The joint effort was successfully leveraged to secure additional funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development. Of the nearly $1.5 million, ECD will provide $1,030,000 and the Department of State will provide up to $70,000. The remaining $356,577 will come from USDA Rural Development. The funds will be used to provide computers, peripheral equipment, high-speed Internet routers and instructors to conduct training classes.
In addition to administering the $70,000 grant, the Tennessee State Library and Archives, which is a division of the Tennessee Department of State, will administer the other grant funds. TSLA is currently assisting the local libraries in finalizing the consent agreements required before the money is disbursed.
“Now rural communities across Tennessee will have greater access to the technology their citizens need to be more competitive and successful in the workplace,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “Our work to obtain the first-class equipment and training for citizens in some of the hardest-hit local economies in our state will yield great benefits across Tennessee. I am grateful for the persistent support of our friends in ECD through this lengthy process and that of USDA Rural Development to further extend the reach of what we could have otherwise accomplished.”
“Libraries play a vital role in the success of entrepreneurs and the creation of jobs across our state,” said Matt Kisber, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. “Libraries are where people go to research strategies for a business plan, learn more about market opportunities and to gain skills to become more marketable employees. We’re pleased to be able to partner with the Secretary of State’s office and USDA Rural Development to make this project happen.”