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Local library receives two grants from state

By Veronica Burniston
Freelance Writer
Secretary of State Tre Hargett, along with State Senator Jon Lundberg and several others, presented the Johnson County Public Library with two grants: The Cares Grant and the Technology Grant. The grant presentation was held at the library last Friday morning and was part of Hargett’s visit to the area that included a brief stop at the Johnson County Election Office.

Every year the Federal Government distributes funding to states for public libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The Tennessee State Library and Archives then take this funding and provides grant opportunities for libraries across the state. The Cares Grant, which covers April 21, 2020, through May 31, 2021, helps the public library provide everyday services for its community and staff.

“We are a very small library in a very small place with a very small amount of money,” Linda Icenhour, head librarian of the Johnson County Public Library, said. She noted how the grants provide opportunities for the library to expand technologically and improve available services for patrons.

In 2019, the Johnson County Public Library had 49,562 library visits, according to Tennessee Libraries By the Numbers. The library also had 57,268 items borrowed and 7,759 interlibrary loans exchanged. The Cares Grant enables the library to continue serving these basic community needs. In addition, it will also “absorb” some of the COVID-19 costs the library spent toward protective gear and cleaning supplies back in March.

The Technology Grant is a 50/50 matching grant for the purchase of library technology. A “matching grant” means for every local dollar spent, the grant will match it until the full award is given. It typically operates as reimbursement for necessary purchases and invoices.

Last year, the public library hosted 2,691 WIFI Internet sessions and 74,544 computer (electronic content) sessions for patrons. The Technology Grant gives the library opportunity to purchase new computers for patrons, a new tablet to improve Facebook online storytelling, and to continue forward with WIFI services.

For additional information on these two Tennessee grants, visit For local library statistics, visit