The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is inviting the public to discuss the digital adoption and inclusion recommendations of the National Broadband Plan at the 20th meeting of the National Museum and Services Library Board on June 18 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
A representative of the Federal Communications Commission will discuss the recommendations.
IMLS will also present findings of Opportunity for All: How the American Public Benefits from Internet Access at U.S. Libraries, the first, large-scale study of who uses public computers and Internet access in public libraries. The study was conducted by the University of Washington and funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The meeting will take place at the IMLS offices, located at 1800 M Street, NW, 9th Floor, Board Room, Washington, DC 20036.
Board members will lead discussion on a range of other issues including:
* IMLS’s partnership with the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration to encourage collaboration between public libraries and the workforce investment system to help job seekers.
* IMLS’s 21st Century Skills initiative. As part of its mission to help libraries and museums meet the educational, economic, civic, and cultural needs of communities, IMLS released Museums, Libraries and 21st Century Skills, a publication that is accompanied by an online assessment tool and a matrix. The ongoing project supports libraries and museums as they develop programs for technology literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, environmental literacy, and global awareness.
March 13, 2010
Investing in Innovation Grants
AMOUNT: $335,000 avg per year
DEADLINE: April 20 2010
March 11 2010
Investing in Innovation Grants
AMOUNT: $335,000 avg per year
DEADLINE: April 20 2010
BIP Application Guide
New rules for the Dept of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service BIP stimulus application.
Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) Round 2 Application Guide
Monitor www.broadbandusa.gov for latest Stimulus info
March 3, 2010
Some Stimulus application deadlines have been extended:
NTIA BTOP Comprehensive Community Infrastructure projects: March 26th
RUS BIP infrastructure projects: March 29th
NTIA Public Computer Centers: March 15th
NTIA Sustainable Broadband Adoption: March 15th
BIP: Broadband Initiatives Program
BTOP: Broadband Technology Opportunities Program
NTIA: National Telecommunications Information Administration (Department of Commerce)
RUS: Rural Utilities Service (US Department of Agriculture)
February 26, 2010
Pennsylvania’s public libraries are urged to consider applying to install or expand Wi-Fi in your library through the special stimulus initiative that is in effect for libraries. (An application may be made for computers, equipment, shelving, furniture, even bookmobiles and renovations and construction). Wi-Fi is suggested as it offers an opportunity to expand access (please see notes below for benefits). With the Wi-Fi application, you may want to consider laptops, a charging cart, a separate server perhaps, installation costs and other equipment that would complement Wi-Fi. If you already have Wi-Fi, consider expanding or updating your laptops etc.
For this program:
This special initiative is on top of a current program* being run by the US Department of Agriculture. The program aims to provide educational opportunities and improve public services in rural communities.
Your first step would be to contact the USDA regional office in your location. Click here.
It is to your benefit to do this as quickly as possible. Do not delay. Your application should be in no later than April. (I do not believe the application is as strenuous as others)
Do Not Hesitate to Apply—especially if you are in an area with a low median household income and could receive a grant! If YOU don’t have time to do this, find someone that can do it.
The people at USDA are also very good to work with—give them a call now. Locate your regional office’s phone by clicking here.
to think about:
Libraries are the only source of no-fee Internet access for 71 percent of America’s communities (79% in rural areas) and are critical to providing equal access to information and educational services to all of our communities.
Pennsylvania’s public libraries serve as information hubs in the community, providing free and equal access to all their services, including the computer centers. Residents as well as non-residents are free to use the internet without charge and the libraries and services are accessible to those with disabilities. Public libraries also make their facilities open to other non-profits and government agencies. Often a community’s only welcoming public space open in the evenings and weekends, libraries’ only restrictions on use would be due to space needs or the limited number of computers available. Many libraries have no more room for immobile workstations. Providing wireless and laptops would allow libraries to offer more computer time/access and meet demand. Patrons could access Internet resources anywhere in the library. (Also think of educational/training opportunities that would be available in different sections of the library).
Patrons may also bring in their own devices (laptops, iPads). Many patrons, with new devices, such as the iPads, but without access to the Internet, especially need access to Wi-Fi in their community to download and update applications. In rural areas, there may not be the coffee shops on every corner offering free Wi-Fi. The only option may be the library.
Expanded access through Wi-Fi expands educational opportunities in rural areas. Pennsylvania’s libraries provide formal training and programming to meet the needs of all ages in their communities, from pre-school children to senior citizens, and often work in partnership with other non-profit or government agencies, such as work-force development agencies, in order to provide that training. Libraries also provide informal training as needed for individual needs of patrons. The libraries provide life-long learning opportunities to everyone, reflected in the wide variety of programming that is available. In 2008, Pennsylvania’s public libraries held 168,330 separate programs open to the public. This number does not include the many separate computer training classes. With Wi-Fi, more people can access statewide and other educational databases and more people can participate in computer and internet training at these community centers of life long learning.
More people can work on their resume, search for job opportunities and access online community resources and government programs with expanded access through Wi-Fi. Libraries provide classes on how to use computers and certain databases to locate jobs or do employment applications. Health resources are also accessed at the public libraries through proprietary databases and the Internet. The libraries provide computer and software training to educate their patrons in the use of essential e-government services, such as unemployment benefits, federal and state emergency assistance, tax filing, social security and Medicare Part D. A recent American Library Association study, found that 61 percent of libraries report providing access to government information as one of the most critical Internet services they provide. Training programs on accessing career and business information are also held, often in partnership with state employment and training agencies.
Other things to think about:
Wi-Fi provides a welcoming service for visitors and an enticement for the non-library user.
Wi-Fi at libraries should be enabled so that people may use their own devices without cumbersome log in.
It keeps the library in the technology forefront in the eyes of the community, maintaining our image as an entity necessary to the vitality of the community.
New access is also great for PR and may draw other funds or partnerships.
Cost is reasonable in relation to benefit and reach. It is not technologically intricate
All libraries in Pennsylvania should think of providing Wi-Fi to their patrons!
*The Community Facilities Program of USDA Rural Development provides funding for public entities and non-profit organizations to assist in the development of essential community facilities in rural areas and towns of up to 20,000 in population. This program is available annually to eligible applicants. Funds may be used for construction, expansion or improvements to facilities. Funds may also be used to purchase equipment. There is a special initiative this year for rural libraries under this program and supplemented with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. Please note that this program can provide loans and grants. Grant funds are directed toward those communities having a low population and low median household income according to 2000 US Census data. The loans that are available are fixed rate and long term to allow for affordability. Loan terms can be up to 40 years on buildings and up to 15 years on equipment or useful life. Currently, our interest rate on loans is at 4.00%.
February 19, 2010
Two Broadband stimulus grants were announced for PA yesterday:
$28.8 million awarded to the Commonwealth/Office of Administration to help fund a middle mile project to expand broadband infrastructure in northern PA and
$99.6 million to the Keystone Initiative for Network Based Education and Research (KINBER), a coalition of Pa colleges, universities, health care organizations and economic development entities (PennREN).
Round One awards are still being made.
Here’s the Press release
WEBINAR “BTOP & BIP: How to Connect”
DATE: Friday, February 5th 1:30-2:30pm EST
Recordings of the NTIA and RUS webcasts/workshops were to have been available for reference 3-5 days after streaming but have not appeared so far. Monitor the site.
Important documents related to filing a Broadband Stimulus application with the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) or the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) are available here.
The application window opens on February 16 and closes on March 25th.
NTIA Secretary Strickland has encouraged all those who did not receive an award in the first round, to re-apply.
Feedback on last round’s applications will not be made available. Beside difficulty due to the volume involved, significant changes have been made from the first round that comments from that round would not be helpful for the second. Because of changes also in the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA), it is suggested that the new NOFA be read before applying.
Applicants are also advised to look for partners here
A blogger offers tips from the workshop.
On January 15, 2010 RUS and NTIA announced the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the last round of broadband stimulus funding.
The non-profit New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative has published analyses for the RUS and NTIA NOFAs as well as applications guides to help interested parties apply for broadband stimulus funding:
Read BIP Changes and other Details
Read BTOP Changes and other Details
Settles, Greg. “Ready, Set for Broadband Race Round 2” Daily Yonder.Com, January 26, 2010 link (February 4, 2010).
Also, the American Library Association continues its site “Know Your Stimulus,” with the important links and a section entitled “Lessons Learned.”
RUS AWARDS from Round One:
The USDA Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announced awards of $313.5 million for broadband programs. Pennsylvania was not included.
The Department of Agriculture’s–Rural Utilities Service (RUS)–has issued a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Broadband Infrastructure Program (BIP).
Did you know that Bill Gates is now on Twitter? People can see his messages . He will be tweeting about his funding programs. Instead of going to the site above, you may join Twitter and get his messages as they happen!
Consider joining Twitter and you can follow tweets from people talking about a range of subjects you may find interesting! Did you know you can also search for topics on twitter? You can follow topics by using the hash tag # followed by the topic name. For example, if you want to follow tweets about the Broadband Stimulus program, enter #BTOP in the Twitter search field!
It is amazing how fast info flows on Twitter! Be the first to know!
Broadband Round One
More awards have been announced from Round One; the notice did not include any for Pennsylvania. Round One awards are being announced on a rolling basis.
Broadband Round Two
The second funding round for the Broadband Stimulus program has been announced for the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunciations Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) broadband programs.
Main Broadband page
Workshops to be held
Find a Partner
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) have launched BroadbandMatch, an online tool which will help potential applicants find partners in order to share expertise and create stronger proposals.