State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver and State Senator Mae Beavers presented checks to DeKalb County Library Director Kathy Hendrixson on Thursday for upgrade technology.
The presentation was made at Justin Potter Library. Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson and County Mayor Mike Foster were also on hand for the occasion.
As WJLE reported on May 9th, DeKalb County is one of more than 70 communities across Tennessee that are receiving grants to upgrade technology at rural libraries.
These grants, which total more than $1.2 million, are the product of a partnership between the Office of the Secretary of State, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development in a quest to strengthen rural communities by developing libraries.
The county will receive $16,076 to be used at the Alexandria Branch Library and another $16,076 to be used at the Justin Potter Library.
Hendrixson said "the focus of these grants are to help the community in the difficult times with developing computer skills, resume building and teaching the public how to set up online e-mail,etc. Justin Potter Library and Alexandria Library will each receive a laptop computer lab in order to provide computer classes to the public. We appreciate this grant and the opportunity it gives the libraries to bring these services to the community," said Hendrixson.
"Libraries in rural areas play an especially important role in connecting citizens with the resources and opportunities that are oftentimes isolated to urban areas," said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. "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."
Grants may be used to cover costs for computer equipment, new training, educational opportunities, Internet access and other enhancements approved by the USDA.
"These grants will help people access information on employment opportunities, job training, small business development and education here in DeKalb County," said state Sen. Mae Beavers. "This will help level the playing field in the job market and eliminate the need for some people to drive to big cities to get Internet access."
"When people have trouble getting Internet connections or cannot afford a home computer, our public libraries fill a void," said state Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver. "Our community is extremely grateful for the help of the Office of the Secretary of State, ECD and USDA Rural Development."