Consider what internet access means to our everyday life in the 21st century. We use computers and the internet to complete school work, locate and apply for jobs, access healthcare information, connect with friends and family across the nation and the world via social media and research a myriad of topics. Yet, a survey by the US Census Bureau identified the fact that access to high-speed internet is not readily available to an overwhelming percentage of citizens in Murfreesboro and Rutherford County. The Community Technology Center (CTC) will provide access to computers and these services to all citizens of our community, but especially to those who are underserved in this area. It will also bridge the gap between literacy and technology by equipping residents of our community with the necessary tools to thrive as citizens of our time. The need for access to the cyber world has never been more important. The CTC will also serve as a small business incubator by offering private meeting rooms where small business owners can meet with their clients or vendors. These same meeting rooms will be available for group projects and study groups and can be reserved at no charge with a library card. The CTC staff will develop and deliver technology training for our citizens. Databases will be available for use by life-long learners. The value of this center is almost endless and will have a positive impact on all our citizens of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County. We have prepared a plan to address this compelling need with an extremely modest cost, especially in relation to the huge value it will provide our community.
While "technology centers" have existed in public libraries for a number of years, they have not been stand-alone "bookless" facilities. After much study and discussion, the Linebaugh Library Board, the Foundation, and the Friends of Linebaugh organization came to the consensus that a technology center would greatly enrich the lives of Rutherford County residents. We are often asked what we think a library will look like in ten, fifteen and even twenty years from now. While we can't predict the future, we believe this concept may indeed be the future. Such forward-thinking has led to the decision not to wait to provide access to this technology, but to move now to better serve the citizens of Rutherford County.
The basic concept is to create a "bookless" center filled with a variety of computers and study/meeting rooms for students, small businesses, training, and computer classes. The working title for the project is the Community Technology Center (CTC). Our first milestone was reached in June 2015, when the Murfreesboro City School Board and the City of Murfreesboro approved a site for the CTC on the campus of Hobgood Elementary School. The CTC Committee is comprised of Gary Green, Chair (also Library Board Vice-Chair), Carlton Miller (Friends of Linebaugh), Rick LaLance (Foundation and City Council), Allen McAdoo (County Commissioner for the district encompassing Hobgood Elementary), Charlie Baum (Foundation and County Commissioner), Kevin Robertson (LPLS Systems Administrator) and Rita Shacklett (Library Director). It is our goal and desire to have the CTC open to serve the public by 2017.