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In these tough economic times, we all know how important it is to stretch dollars as far as possible. Because of that, I applaud the Grundy County Commission for its recent decision to provide funding to support a major technology upgrade for the county’s six libraries.
The new computer system will make it easier for Grundy County library users to see and request materials online from their county libraries and in nearly 200 other libraries throughout Tennessee. No county in the state could afford to build enough bookshelves to store the 8 million volumes that will become readily available as a result of this service, let alone purchase all of those materials. But as a result of the commission’s action, Grundy County residents will have improved access to those resources.
The new service brings other advantages as well. Each library in the county will have a web site giving library users one-click access to the Tennessee Electronic Library, which has digital versions of more than 400,000 reference books, magazines, newspapers, study guides, e-books, podcasts and other materials, as well as the Regional E-Book and Audio Book Download System, which includes 60,000 downloadable audio books and e-books.
Also, the staff software will increase efficiency in performing tasks such as checking materials in and out, cataloging new materials, and measuring library usage. This will empower staff to provide the highest level of direct service to their customers. The system will provide librarians with information about what items customers borrow most, so that they can better meet the needs of the community.
Grundy County residents should be proud of the commission for spending public money so wisely. The commission’s timing is an example of particularly effective stewardship, as the decision allows the libraries to purchase the system at a substantially reduced rate with grant funds from the State Library and Archives. I stand alongside the residents of Grundy County in eagerly anticipating the enhanced library services to come.
Tre Hargett, Tennessee Secretary of State