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KNOXVILLE – In a combined effort by public and private entities, the University of Tennessee has helped add the Literature Resource Center, a subscription-based, comprehensive literary criticism database, to the Tennessee Electronic Library.

TEL, hosted by the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville, is free to every Tennessee resident. It includes biographical, bibliographical, critical and contextual information on authors and their works. Within the next few months, every library in Tennessee will have staff trained to help students and the general public use LRC.

UT Libraries Associate Dean Aubrey Mitchell said it was important to get the LRC added to TEL service. “We felt it was crucial to get a tool such as this literary criticism service to K-12 students and college students,” Mitchell said.

The database went online October 1, and UT students are able to access the Literature Resource Center from the Hodges Library.

TEL was an initiative of TENN-SHARE, a statewide consortium of 450 libraries dedicated to sharing common resources to improve access to information for all Tennesseans.

Until this newest addition, TEL was financed with federal funds through the State Library. When librarians approached Tennessee Secretary of State Riley Darnell to ask for funding to add the Literature Resource Center, Darnell committed $150,000 and challenged the librarians to raise the rest of the money. Mitchell and Cathy Evans, director of libraries for St. Mary’s Episcopal School in Memphis, led the fundraising effort.

“This marks the first time that private and public higher-educational and K-12 institutions have participated in funding TEL,” Mitchell said.

In addition to educational institutions such as UT, Tennessee Board of Regents schools and Vanderbilt, many public libraries, including those of Shelby, Davidson and Knox counties, helped fund LRC.

“This innovative approach to financing allows libraries that can afford to contribute to the venture to give as they can, so that those libraries that cannot afford it will still have access,” Mitchell said.

Tennessee Electronic Library provides all state residents access to 18 subscription-based databases that cover topics such as humanities, education, business, science, art, politics, economics and general interest. Thousands of full-text articles and general reference materials are available in elementary school to post-graduate reading levels.

Contact: Aubrey Mitchell (865-974-6600)
Charles Primm (865-974-5180)