Leverage Libraries to Achieve Digital Equity for All

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New federal programs and resources through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act  provide an unprecedented opportunity to build on the existing infrastructure and expertise of our nation’s libraries to inform state digital equity plans and accelerate broadband adoption and skills building for all nationwide. Libraries provide:

  • Reach with a physical presence in communities of all sizes, as well as in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, military bases, and more that provide high-speed internet access, computers, specialty software applications, central meeting spaces, and trusted hubs for information and community referrals for people across diverse backgrounds and interests;
  • Expertise and resources with trained staff experienced in tackling digital equity gaps, boosting literacies and digital skills needed to survive and thrive in today’s networked world, and developing collections and resources relevant to local needs; and
  • Sustainable, flexible collaboration ranging from digital equity coalitions to state workforce development plans to telehealth collaborations that strengthen networks and support sustainability.

These assets align with the goals of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and must be leveraged as part of upcoming state planning efforts, as well as efforts to boost awareness of and enrollment in the Affordable Connectivity Program. Not only do library staff have deep experience enabling digital access and skills building, they have a proven track record of stewarding public funding to successfully meet the needs of local residents of all ages and backgrounds.

[Michelle Frisque is a broadband consultant for the American Library Association]

Leverage Libraries to Achieve Digital Equity for All