Grant provides funding for library’s new laptop lab
Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2011 9:06 pm
By: Glenda Caudle, Special Features Editor
By GLENDA CAUDLE
Special Features Editor
Obion County librarian Michele Barnes and her staff will be offering a state-of-the-art laptop lab to area library patrons soon, thanks to a grant provided by a partnership between the office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.
Hargett joined state Rep. Bill Sanderson at the library Wednesday to present the check personally. Obion County Mayor Benny Mc-Guire and county commission chairman Ralph Puckett were on hand with Mrs. Barnes to celebrate the $21,866 grant that is Obion County’s portion of $1.2 million being handed out in 70 communities across the state to upgrade technology to rural libraries.
“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 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.”
He added, following his tour of the facility, that the Obion County Public Library was one of the most beautiful such facilities he had ever seen and suggested that “It says something about this place.”
Mrs. Barnes said the local library will purchase 11 new lap tops and the latest software, plus a router and projector with the funds. The technology will be handicap accessible with touch screens. She hopes to have everything in place by August and plans to begin offering a variety of classes and opportunities for local library patrons to utilize the new equipment.
“The READ Center at Martin is going to help us with classes and we think these efforts will be of great benefit in this struggling economy to those who need help getting resumes in order and doing basic job searches,” she says. “We’ll also be doing lots of fun things with this technology, such as teaching people how to photoshop their pictures and how to buy and sell on eBay. The laptops will make it so much easier to conduct classes since everyone can move about and be facing the same way. In our present technology setup with carrels, it’s sometimes difficult for everyone in the class to see the instructor. I think our seniors who have taken part in technology classes at the library in the past are going to be really excited. So many of them are afraid to even begin learning to use technology. But they find out, when they come in and get started, that you really can’t hurt the system and there is a whole new world out there waiting for them to explore”
“When people have trouble getting Internet connections or cannot afford a home computer, our public library fills a void,” says Sanderson. “Our community is extremely grateful for the help of the Office of the Secretary of State, ECD and USDA Rural Development.”
“We are very blessed to have the quality of library we enjoy here in Obion County,” Mrs. Barnes says. “Secretary Hargett was so impressed with our facility and the services we offer.”
Hargett told those attending the check presentation Wednesday that the grants he was delivering across the state would go a long way in connecting citizens with the resources and opportunities that are sometimes available only 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.”
Published in The Messenger 5.26.11