WASHINGTON, Sept. 24, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced investments in 30 states that will create jobs by building and enhancing libraries in 129 rural communities across the nation. The projects are being funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act).
"Libraries are the centerpiece of rural community life, but in many cases they need additional funding to provide rural residents with computer access, modern equipment and new training and educational opportunities," Vilsack said. "These Recovery Act investments in our nation's libraries will serve rural America for generations to come."
For example, the Hancock County Library in Sneedville, Tenn., has been selected to receive a $14,417 grant to purchase computer lab equipment. The project will provide the 6,700 residents of this central Appalachia community in northeast Tennessee access to modern computer equipment. The Cumberland County Library in Crossville, Tenn., has been selected to receive almost $3,000 to purchase computer equipment. All of the projects announced today will enable rural residents to use computers to search for jobs and train for employment opportunities. The funding also will provide computer access to students who lack it at home. Most of the libraries selected for grants currently offer residents no access to computers or have outdated computer systems.
In Greene County, N.Y., the Town of Cairo has been selected to receive a $3 million loan and $200,000 grant to construct a 7,000-square-foot library. The new library will serve as an education, recreation and research hub. The existing library is located in the town hall. The new facility also will provide high-speed internet access for the community while continuing to deliver diverse cultural and children's programming.
Recovery Act funding is also helping to promote library and research funding. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Library in Mansfield, Mo., has been selected to receive a $200,000 grant to construct an archival library near a museum and visitor's center complex located on a 173-acre site known as Rocky Ridge Farm. The proposed 6,000-square-foot library would provide library services, archival and research rooms, multi-purpose rooms and allow children and adults the opportunity to conduct historical research.
The $15 million in Recovery Act funding being announced today is being provided through USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities Program. It will be combined with $10.2 million from other sources. Funding of each loan and grant is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions of the agreement. Please click here for complete list of projects. Altogether, 190 libraries across the country have benefited from Recovery Act funding.
USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities program helps finance essential community facilities for public use in rural areas. These facilities include child care centers, hospitals, medical clinics, assisted-living facilities, fire and rescue stations, police stations, community centers, public buildings and transportation. Through this program, USDA ensures that such facilities are available to all rural residents. These funds are available to public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized Indian tribes. More information about USDA Rural Development can be found at www.rurdev.usda.gov. For a complete list of the library projects funded today click here.
President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law on Feb. 17, 2009. It is designed to jumpstart the nation's economy, create or save millions of jobs and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act includes measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief and protect those in greatest need.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of 6,100 employees located in Washington, D.C., and 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees.
More information about USDA's Recovery Act efforts is available at www.usda.gov/recovery . More information about the Federal government's efforts on the Recovery Act is available at www.recovery.gov .