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APSU librarian to make case for funding of Tennessee Electronic Library

1/8/2001
January 8, 2001

The arrival of a new year is a shotgun start for budget battles in Tennessee, as lobbyists rush to make the case for funding their special areas.

On Jan. 30, Deborah Fetch, acting dean of Austin Peay State University's Woodward Library, will join librarians from throughout the state to make the case for expansion of the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL).

That library provides Tennesseans with online access to publications and information, from home and as well as through school and public libraries. TEL-accessed information includes magazines, newspapers, medical reports, scholarly journals and government documents.

But the information is not free. Currently, TEL is funded largely by the federal Library Services and Technology Act.

Many library supporters believe additional state funds for TEL are necessary. Julie Webb of Friends of Tennessee Libraries said, “There's no guarantee that the federal money will be there. State funds are the only way to assure the future of TEL.”

Fetch agrees. “TEL is a big plus for Woodward Library, saving us about $35,000 annually,” she said. “It pays for access to three of our most important databases: the Expanded Academic index; Business & Company, our only database for the College of Business; and Informe!, Austin Peay's only Spanish-language database.”

Fetch points out that TEL is a cost-effective system. Because of volume-purchasing price breaks, the state pays $750,000 for access by everyone. “Subscription costs to individual libraries are high. Without TEL, Woodward Library might be forced to cancel journal subscriptions, purchase fewer books or even eliminate access to some databases,” she said.

For more information about TEL, call Fetch at 7617.