The Tennessee Department of State recently selected the Blount County Public Library to receive a $9,600 technology grant to purchase computers and other technology-related equipment.
Those funds are being matched with funds from the Friends of the Blount County Public Library, making a total of $19,200, library director Kathy Pagles said.
“At the Blount County Public Library, the grant funds are being used to purchase 16 staff computers, many of which have not been upgraded since the library’s opening in 2002,” Pagles said. “In addition, an upgraded server to manage the library’s integrated library system is being purchased. The staff computers being replaced will be recycled, in turn, replacing some very old catalog computers.”
In a State Department news release, Secretary of State Tre Hargett, said, “Particularly during tough economic times, it is important that our public libraries have the resources citizens need.
“In many communities across our state, particularly in rural areas, public libraries are the only free source of Internet access people have. And without Internet access, it is more difficult for people to file for unemployment benefits, conduct job searches or become more competitive in the work force by learning new skills through online training programs,” Hargett said.
One of 88 libraries across the state to receive grant funds, libraries are able to purchase computers, laptops, wireless networking stations, general software packages and various other items such as printers, scanners and monitors.
Pagles said that these matching fund grants have been used in the past to purchase laptops and computer software.