From Internet 2:
Internet2 announced today that its Community Anchor Program (CAP) has received a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant of $249,788 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The grant supports initiatives that empower library practitioners to become more informed consumers, advocates, and providers of internet access and digital services to their communities.
The Internet2 CAP works with regional and local research and education networks across the country to connect the full range of community anchor institutions to advanced broadband capabilities. Stephanie Stenberg, director of the Internet2 CAP, will be teaming up with library consultant Carson Block to improve upon the Toward Gigabit Libraries (TGL) toolkit and expand outreach to tribal, rural, and urban libraries across the United States.
An investment in broadband is key for libraries to be able to provide innovative programs and services. In Montana, broadband allows libraries to support virtual reality programs and distance learning services.
Yet despite federal recommendations that libraries serving up to 50,000 people should have at minimum a 100 megabits per second internet connection, fewer than five libraries across Montana meet this speed level. Jennie Stapp, Montana State Librarian, spearheaded the initiative for all libraries across the state to complete the toolkit.
“Fewer than a dozen of the libraries in the entire state have a dedicated IT person, most rely on either their local governments or a volunteer to provide that support,” said Stapp. “The gigabit toolkit is accessible in terms of the amount of time and investment it takes for a library to complete it, especially for small or rural libraries that just don’t have either the time or the technical know-how.”