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Tennessee Electronic Library Is a Bargain for Schools and Libraries
(Published: March 21, 2011)

It would cost Tennessee schools and libraries about $94 million a year to purchase the resources that are available to them free of charge through the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL).

TEL is an online collection of more than 400,000 resources, with over 150,000,000 articles, videos, e-books, podcasts and other reference materials available to any Tennessean with Internet access. TEL pays about $1.5 million annually to provide subscriptions to those materials.

According to a recently-updated study, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and public libraries would have to spend more than $94 million on average if they had to pay for those resources individually. The costs would break down to $124,697 per college, $133,518 per public library, $44,777 per high school and $23,357 per elementary school.

"This study demonstrates TEL's value to Tennesseans," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. "TEL resources are important tools in helping our residents find the information they need. The convenience of being able to access these resources at no cost, either in the library or at home with an Internet connection, provides Tennesseans across the state with great opportunities to save time and money."

“On average, there are more than 30 million Internet searches a year performed using TEL,” said Wendy Cornelisen, TEL’s coordinator. “I think that is an astonishing statistic and I hope that more Tennesseans discover the convenience of using these resources in the future.”

Students, faculty and staff from any of Tennessee's schools and colleges, as well as patrons from all the state's public libraries, can access all TEL content at no cost. Designed for at-home use, TEL resources are also available free of charge from any Internet connection in the state. The TEL collection includes electronic resources for children and adults on topics ranging from homework help, current events, academic and civil service test preparation to health, family history and genealogy.

TEL is funded by the Tennessee General Assembly, the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and pledges from libraries across the state. TEL is administered by the Tennessee State Library and Archives, which is a division of the Tennessee Office of the Secretary of State.

TEL is located online at www.tntel.info.