Libraries and Rural Broadband

With just a little over 2,000 people in western Kansas’ Stanton County, you might be surprised there’s a library in the area. But the Stanton County Public Library is heavily used. If you went there after hours and looked on its outdoor patio, you might see people at the Anna Mae Lewis Outdoor Library using the Internet connectivity from the library’s network. As my team visited rural libraries in Kansas and Maine, we routinely saw parking lots and streets filled with patrons using Wi-Fi connections after hours. By some estimates, there are 4,078 rural libraries in the US and they’re important in more ways than you might expect. Going well beyond book lending, rural libraries support all sorts of educational programs, maker spaces, and social service meetings. They also have public access computers and most provide Wi-Fi access both inside and outside their buildings.


Libraries and Rural Broadband