Your Public Library: your resource for economic development.
Communities all across America are transitioning from manufacturing and industry jobs to technology-based information economies. Libraries across America are acting as first responders in this transition. Broadband internet service plays a large role in this response.
Connected Tennessee has done much to make broadband internet services available to people in rural communities, but even with all their efforts there still remains a huge digital divide in our county. Even where broadband service is available, the cost has remained beyond the reach of most of our citizens. The library’s response to this need has been to increase the number of internet access terminals at the library and to provide special areas for laptop users to plug into outlets. The library’s Wi-Fi is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, inside and outside the building.
Staff has also received special training to assist patrons one-on-one with their internet needs as time permits.
Why do people need this service?
- More and more citizens are going to school online. Distance Education is growing in leaps and bounds. Distance education students use the library’s internet daily to access their classes, print off assignments, and watch video clips for their classes. Library staff are serving as proctors for testing for some of these students.
- Students are using the internet to fill out their Federal Aid forms for college.
- Students use the internet for research and for electronic databases that offer free practice tests and free eBooks for test preparation including GED, ACT, GRE, and MAT.
- Citizens use the internet for searching for jobs and filling out job applications (many of which are handled online now),
- Unemployed citizens are filling out unemployment forms and recertifying weekly for unemployment.
- Our public library has a computer dedicated to small business owners where they may have a direct connection with the Tennessee Small Business Center. Skype is installed for video connection with a small business counselor.
- Citizens use the internet to e-file their federal income tax forms.
- The library’s internet access allows youth (born after January 1, 1989)to come to the library and take their boater safety test which is required by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for any youth who will be operating a boat or personal watercraft on Tennessee’s lakes.
Our public library is committed to the future of our community. The library of today is a passive place of recreational reading at times, but it is also an active agent for local economic development. As one area advertiser says, “We’re here to help, and we know how.”