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Secretary of State Tre Hargett (back) presented Portland Public Library a $652 technology grant recently. Pictured (l-r) Larry Hinton, Johnnie Freedle, Mike Callis, J. J. Hunter, Debra Elledge, William Lamberth and Anita Lamberth.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett and members of his staff were at the Portland Public Library of Sumner County on Friday to present the library a $652 technology grant funded by the State Library through the Library Services Technology Act. 

In addition, Hargett visited all the libraries in Sumner County to present donations.

Statewide a total of $350,500 was donated to libraries with Sumner County libraries receiving $10,335. In addition to the $652 grant Portland received, other Sumner County libraries received the following amounts: Gallatin Public Library - $2,628, Hendersonville Public Library - $5,581, Millersville Public Library - $1,032 and Westmoreland Public Library - $442.

In making the presentation, Sec. Hargett praised Rep. William Lamberth and his colleagues for allocating the money. He also acknowledged the state legislators for making voter registration available on line at libraries across the state. 

Lamberth said, “This is the library where I cut my teeth. I was in all the time. We didn’t have iPads, cable TV, or Internet. I came to the library.”

He added that the library system in Sumner County is one of the best in the state and that from the smallest to the biggest in the county, they are all quality libraries. The library is the often the first place people go to file for unemployment benefits or to look for a job, he said.

Library manager Debra Elledge said, “We didn’t ask for more because we’ve been treated so well in the past. Portland has got to the point where we can ask money for forward thinking ideas as compared to the necessities. We felt we should not ask for things we didn’t need because the money was there, because there are other libraries in need. We felt we were in a good place this year, so we just asked for funding for ‘thinking out of the box’ ideas.”

Mayor Mike Callis said, “Good message to put out there to not just be asking because the money is there but realizing others have needs as well.”

Hargett and members of his staff are currently traveling across the state to make donations to other library recipients.

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