Thanks to Christian Jiménez Tomás, Information Specialist, The World Bank Law Resource Center, for this article: Broadband Plan and the Provision of Public Libraries. This article was originally published in the 2011 Best Practices for Government Libraries: e-Initiatives and e-Efforts: Expanding Our Horizons. Best Practices is a collaborative document that is put out annually on a specific topic of interest to government librarians. The 2011 edition includes over 70 articles and other submissions provided by more than 60 contributors from librarians in government agencies, courts, and the military, as well as from professional association leaders, LexisNexis Consultants, and more.
Overview and Commentary
With the visible shift of job applications and various government forms online, public libraries face an increased demand to serve the broadband needs of its patrons and provide access to digital government information.
According to the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), 45 percent of the 169 million visitors to public libraries accessed the Internet using a library computer or wireless network during their visit, although more than three-quarters of these people had Internet access at home or work (Becker, Crandall, Fisher, Kinney, Landray & Rocha, 2010).
Meanwhile, the American Library Association (2011) found that there is an increased use of the library during difficult economic times from examining previous recessions. The lingering economic downturn continues to affect a majority of libraries. Fifty-six percent have reported flat and limited budgets, while 24 percent of urban libraries reported a reduction in open hours primarily as a result of decreased funding (p. 3).
Without the proper funding from federal, state and local governments, public libraries may find it difficult to achieve the broadband speeds and initiatives outlined in the National Broadband Plan. The plan, released on March 16, 2010, aims to make broadband affordable and accessible to underserved communities and community anchors such as public libraries. However, the plan does not define what affordable access is or how much it would cost...
READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN PDF starting on page 146.
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