Ramsey Handing Out Checks to Libraries

On Friday, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey presented the Sullivan County Public Library’s staff with a $21,622 check they will use to buy 12 new laptop computers – including one designed to help people who are visually impaired – along with the software, furniture and other equipment needed to operate them, according to the Bristol Herald-Courier.
“The digital divide is one of the more glaring obstacles to success for our underprivileged and rural residents,” said Ramsey, who made a similar presentation to staff at the Johnson County Public Library System in Mountain City on Friday. “These grants will help the hardworking people of Sullivan and Johnson counties bridge that gap, stay informed and reach their potential in the job market.”
Library System Director Theresa McMahon said more than 12,000 people used the computer labs set up at her system’s five branches in Blountville, Bloomingdale, Bluff City, Colonial Heights and Sullivan Gardens between July 2010 and April 2011.
Many of them come in to learn about filing for unemployment, look for a job or take a computerized course that teaches them to put together a resume or improve their skills. McMahon said she hopes the new laptops will help her expand these services so they can help more people.
Money for the computers came from a partnership formed by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Office and the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office that set aside $1.45 million to help libraries in 61 of the state’s rural counties upgrade their computer systems.

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