Newsletter Signup

Contact Information

First Name* Address 1 City Email*
Last Name* Address 2
Zip Code
I currently do not have broadband
Why Not?
*Denotes required field

Blog // Connect Michigan

Libraries: A Critical Community Technology Resource

By Wil Payton

The digital era has transformed the role and challenged the capabilities of libraries across the country as they strive to meet the technological needs of community residents.

Last month, the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) held the public hearing, “Libraries and Broadband: Urgency and Impact,” in Washington, D.C.

IMLS advises the President and Congress about the library, museum, and information service needs of the American public. The hearing was designed to establish a pubic record on the impact of and necessity for high-speed broadband in the nation’s 123,000 school, public, research, and academic libraries.

Connect Michigan Executive Director Eric Frederick spoke about Connect Michigan’s extensive experience working with libraries and how today’s libraries serve as clearinghouses for Internet resources.

“Through our work with the Connected (Community Engagement Program), we have seen first-hand that the days when library resources were limited to books and other printed materials are long gone,” said Frederick. “Today’s libraries serve as clearinghouses for the endless amount of information, tools, and services available on the Internet and are catalysts for broadband adoption.”

In an excerpt from a National Telecommunications and Information Administration Case Study on a Public Computer Center in Michigan, the head librarian at the South Lansing Branch Library reported individuals accessing the library’s Wi-Fi service to complete schoolwork outside of operating hours. One example of this occurred in the early morning, when two students were using the service to complete their homework assignments on their own devices outside of the library before school.

The following is a quote from a staff member at the library regarding another situation:

“A woman came in, and she was just in tears. She had been in for months and months practicing on the computer and using the computer to apply for jobs ... and she said ‘I got a job. I got a job!’” – Librarian, South Lansing Branch, Capital Area District Libraries.

Recent initiatives like Connect-Ed and the modernization of the E-rate program have highlighted the necessity for providing schools and libraries with high-speed connectivity, an essential service for meeting the emerging technological requirements of citizens across the country.

Below is an except from a article on how libraries are becoming the tech hubs in Minnesota communities:

Shhhhhhh. You may not know it, but libraries have quietly become community tech hubs where the digital tools go far beyond computer terminals with free Internet. Across the metro area, their offerings are expanding as libraries help patrons tinker with 3-D printers, e-readers and social media. A growing catalog of e-books and e-magazines, combined with other online tools, extend resources far beyond the library walls.

To read more click here.

Be sure to follow Connect Michigan on Facebook and Twitter for more articles on how technology impacts your life.




Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

< Back