In the budget recently passed by the general assembly, libraries will see increased funding for the non-E-Rate portion of their internet connectivity bills. Many libraries still struggle to provide adequate bandwidth at peak usage times and the spike in usage during after school hours is especially taxing for libraries that serve communities with one-to-one programs.
The Pew Research Center recently released a report that indicates that even though low-income Americans are experiencing greater levels of connectivity, it is still significantly different from the adoption rates of middle to high income households. As more patrons have adopted the use of more devices, the libraries’ Wi-Fi can be easily overloaded. Adequate broadband delivery to the library is just the first step in helping to alleviate this issue, but one that has been recognized by the state as a service that would benefit everyone through increased funding.
With fewer than two weeks left to complete your filing for E-Rate this year, libraries have an opportunity to increase the “ask” for connectivity for next year. Filing is due on or before Thursday, May 11, 2017 at midnight. The additional $500,000 dedicated to support library connectivity is a great tool to leverage both federal and state funding to help bridge the digital divide within your community. For questions please contact Karen Ainslie of the Indiana State Library.
This post was written by Wendy Knapp. Wendy is a member of the ALA’s Office of Information Technology Policy E-Rate Taskforce.