The Tennessee Electronic Library's website saw a nearly 15 percent increase last year compared to the year before, which indicates that more Tennesseans are finding the free resources available to them through TEL's databases, officials said.
“TEL is an important resource for Tennesseans,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said in a prepared statement. “Whether it is helping students study for the ACT or SAT or assisting individuals find new careers, I am happy to see that more Tennesseans are using the vast array of free information and databases available to them through TEL. We will continue our efforts to inform Tennesseans about the free resources available to them through TEL.”
TEL coordinator Wendy Cornelisen attributes the increase to a number of factors: The use of Test Prep, a feature that helps students get ready for standardized tests, increased by 12 percent, and the use of the online version of World Book Encyclopedia increased by 53 percent.
“Interest in Test Prep continues to grow, with double-digit growth, as more people discover the free practice tests provided in the Tennessee Electronic Library,” Cornelisen said in a prepared statement. “There are more than 300 practice tests and current study guides in TEL. If it’s a test taken for school or work, it’s most likely available. People getting ready for careers or graduate studies drove the numbers up the most—use at colleges increased 25 percent.”
Also, the Tennessee State Library and Archives has partnered with Ancestry.com to provide access to thousands of Tennessee records, including birth and death certificates. Tennesseans can access these records for free under the "genealogy" heading on the TEL website.
Officials said there were more than 4 million searches of Tennessee records in Ancestry.com last year.
Additionally, TEL is adding two new services this year that should further benefit Tennesseans.
Teachers around the state are struggling to find resources that meet Tennessee’s new Common Core Standards. Next month, TEL is coordinating with the Department of Education to develop a Web page that shows how to use TEL to find Common Core resources.
“TEL is also working on adding an online language learning tool in late spring 2013. The goal is to give everyone in Tennessee the opportunity to learn a wide variety of languages,” Cornelisen said. “Having an online language-learning program that everyone in Tennessee can use will provide our children with a distinct advantage when they apply to college or get ready to join the workforce.”
TEL is an online resource that’s free to anyone in Tennessee with Internet access. TEL provides access to more than 400,000 reference materials, journals, essays, podcasts, videos and e-books. These include resources needed for test preparation, family history materials, Tennessee's metropolitan newspapers and the World Book Encyclopedia.