LIVINGSTON, Tenn., Feb 22, 2012 -- USDA Rural Development Area Director Jerry Jolley today joined Millard Oakley Public Library Director Cynthia Carmack and Pickett County Library Director Lori Winningham to celebrate new resources now available at the two libraries thanks to a unique federal-state partnership.
"The disproportionate economic hardship many rural Tennesseans have endured as a result of the recession is no secret," said Jolley. "Unfortunately, these same people are less likely to have access to the training and other resources available with high speed Internet at home."
"Public libraries are a natural place to bridge this gap," Jolley said. "More adult workers turn to them every day; to search and apply for jobs online, access training to expand their skills, apply for assistance and seek answers to health, legal and other issues aggravated by unemployment."
The expanded computer and Internet access at the Millard Oakley Public Library and the Pickett County Library is part of the Tennessee Library Initiative, a federal-state partnership between the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, the Office of the State Librarian and USDA Rural Development. Together they are investing more than $1.2 million to increase the capacity of 70 small libraries to provide workforce training and increase educational opportunities for the communities they serve.
Jolley said, "By partnering with the State, we are able to expand the educational and workforce development opportunities local libraries make available for families and individuals of all ages.”
Each of these projects funded the purchase and installation of 12 new laptop computers giving each library the tools to meet the changing needs of the community for years to come.
Rural Development community programs finance construction or improvements to essential services like reliable access to clean water, wastewater treatment, healthcare, education, job training, first responders and emergency facilities. Loan-guarantees encourage private lenders to expand the availability of affordable financing in rural communities. Direct loans and grants create sound financial opportunities for local governments to meet essential infrastructure needs.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, homeownership and affordable rental housing in rural communities. Last year the agency assisted tens of thousands of Tennessee families and businesses, investing more than $737 million through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in Upper Cumberland region contact the Rural Development Area Office in Cookeville at 931-528-6539 ext. 2, toll free at 1-800-342-3149 extension 1493, or visit us online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 TDD (615) 783-1397.