American Library Association highlights library and community impacts from Broadband Technology Opportunities Program in new report
Originally published: May 5, 2013
Last updated: May 5, 2013 - 6:37pm
The American Library Association (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy released a new report that details U.S. library engagement with the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.
The report is the first to highlight state and local library BTOP projects nationwide and the improvements they have made to public access technology resources, digital literacy, and workforce development. Library projects in 29 states and the District of Columbia are featured in the report. ALA estimates about 20 percent of U.S. public libraries have benefited from BTOP funding. Highlights from the report:
- Nearly all statewide library projects included digital literacy training. More than 367,000 Coloradans increased their digital literacy skills through that state’s BTOP project. Ninety-five percent of those who took formal classes in Colorado stated they learned a valuable skill and would recommend the classes to others.
- Nearly 600 people who participated in New York State Library’s “Broadband Express @ your library” programs and used online job resources went on to secure employment. The Nebraska Library Commission has more than double its grant goal (45 libraries) for upgrading broadband speeds in this mostly rural state. Of the 101 libraries upgraded so far, the average speed moved from 2.9 Mbps to 21.4 Mbps.
- Alaska, Delaware, Maine, Oklahoma and Rhode Island have established new videoconferencing capabilities in several, if not all, libraries in their states. The Maine State Library is deploying its statewide network to provide legal information clinics through the Volunteer Lawyers Project. The clinics are offered in real time, allowing patrons at multiple locations, and especially in rural locations, to attend and ask questions directly of the presenting attorney.
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