State Librarian and Archivist Chuck Sherrill visited the Washington County Public Library in Jonesborough Monday to announce nearly $20,000 in new state funding for e-books and other electronic and print materials and to celebrate the opening of new computer labs at the library in Jonesborough and at its branch in Gray.
State Rep. Matthew Hill and state Sen. Rusty Crowe joined Sherrill for the ceremonial presentation of a $19,552 check that Library Director Pat Beard said will be used to purchase electronic and audio books and audio-visual and print materials for teens and children.
A third of the funding is earmarked for materials to bolster the state’s Regional E-Book and Audio-Book Download System and Beard said the library plans to spend approximately $9,000 on electronic and audio books to which the library’s patrons will have first access. “This will allow us to do so much more in purchasing some of these extras for our community,” she said.
Because of the average $9 to $10 cost of electronic books, the more expensive cost of audio books, the often lengthy wait time for materials from the statewide READS program, and the library’s limited budget for new materials, Beard said funding will be especially beneficial to heavy readers who purchase electronic reading devices to save on the cost of books, to readers with visual impairments who use electronic readers to magnify pages, and to people with hearing impairments and others who enjoy audio books.
The funding is approximately three times the amount awarded to the library for materials last year and Beard thanked the state and the local lawmakers for their work to make it possible.
“We thank Representative Hill who wanted our library to have more and approached the state library, Senator Crowe, who worked with the Department of State and the library, Secretary (of State Tre) Hargett, and Chuck Sherrill, who is the director of our state library and archives, and his staff for all the work they did to get these extra funds for us,” Beard said.
Sherrill said, “During these tough economic times, more and more people are turning to libraries as sources of free entertainment and information. I am pleased that we have funding available to help the library better serve the citizens of Jonesborough and surrounding communities.”
While in Jonesborough, Sherrill also joined the library in celebrating the opening of its new Public Computing Centers, two 12-terminal computer labs at the county library in Jonesborough and its branch in Gray where classes in basic Internet use begin next week.
Made possible by a $48,000 grant awarded to the library in 2011, Beard said the dual computer centers have been about a year in the making. Both feature wireless access systems and 12 laptop computers with which library patrons will be able to learn the basics of Internet searches, email, word processing, online job searches and more, beginning on Monday.
The first class, “Basic Internet Searching and E-Mail,” will begin at 3 p.m. Monday at the Gray library branch located just off Interstate 26 at 5026 Bobby Hicks Highway, and at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at the library at 200 Sabin Drive, Jonesborough.
The classes are free but reservations are required and may be obtained by calling the library in Jonesborough at 753-1800 or in Gray at 477-1550.