This is a common phrase around our home. We live in the mountains of rural East Tennessee. It is truly a beautiful place. We have a creek running in front of our home. Birds and animals in abundance. Appalachian Trail hikers carrying heavy looking backpacks walking up and down our road looking for the local hostel to get a hot meal, shower and warm bed for the night. Where our neighbors stop by and share the news of week.
But living in a rural area and our nearest town, is a small town, there are limitations that come with this lifestyle. We don’t have a good broadband service. Which means we can’t stream good podcast or videos. We can stream a few, but very few before our data plan is used up for the month.
During the week, we can go into our local library in Greeneville and use their free Wifi, which is really fast. We can download content to listen to later or watch later. This is such a great resource. The only draw back to our local library, is that it’s closed on the weekends.
We love to read, consume new knowledge, catch up on current events in many forms today, podcasts, videos, digital books, read our news online, etc.. This is becoming harder to do with the limitations placed on broadband in rural communities and our local library not opened daily, including weekends.
Our state has some really good programs and has proposed some really good plans for increasing education in our state, the state of Tennessee.
One of our education programs is focused on students graduating from high school. It is called the Tennessee Promise (TP) and its focus is on increasing more college graduates. TP is a scholarship and mentoring program.
Our governor has outlined a plan early this year to extend the Tennessee Promise program. The plan would allow adults in Tennessee to attend community colleges for free.
Tennessee also has the “Tennessee Broadband Accessibility Act” (TBAA). At the bottom of the page for the TBAA, is a note:
The bill provides grant funding opportunities to the state’s local libraries to help residents improve their digital literacy skills and maximize the benefits of broadband. – See more at: https://www.tn.gov/nexttennessee/topic/nt-one-pager-tennessee-broadband-accessibility-act-topic#sthash.REV0eHDw.dpuf
Wow, this would be great if our local library in Greeneville could obtain a grant that would allow them to extend its hours of operations. This would be great for working families or single parents who may only have the weekends available to them for visiting the library. Having extended hours of operations for our local library, would greatly elevate our digital literacy skills, our knowledge in general, working opportunities, as well as learning online opportunities.
As a long term goal, it would be great if our local library could expand in size and upgrade their current desktop computers that are used for accessing the internet. I know that libraries around our country are looking to downsize, but in small towns and rural communities, these valuable resources for learning and growing our knowledge is needed more than ever today. If we value learning and elevating all our citizens, what a great community service this would be for our local communities in Tennessee. This would give our children and grandchildren expanded and better opportunities for creating a more successful life for themselves and their families.