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The Rural Library and
Broadband Access:
Challenges and Opportunity
The Digital Divide
• Concept arose in the 1990s, referring to
the gap between Internet haves and havenots
• Unequal access...
Solutions
• Government introduced E-Rate program in
1996, providing discounts to libraries and
schools
• Additional suppor...
Rural Libraries
• Definition: Inconsistent; Not urban
• Used to lag far behind urban counterparts,
but today, nearly 100% ...
Economic Challenges
• Lots of funding has been put into place to
establish connections
• Increased maintenance/updating co...
Geographic and Cultural
Challenges
• Rural folks are among those who might
benefit most from effective access, but
they ar...
Opportunities for Improvement
• Grants should be simplified so small/less
knowledgeable libraries can get them
• Grants sh...
Questions?
(If I haven’t put you to sleep)
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The Rural Library and Broadband Access

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Transcript of "The Rural Library and Broadband Access"

  1. 1. The Rural Library and Broadband Access: Challenges and Opportunity
  2. 2. The Digital Divide • Concept arose in the 1990s, referring to the gap between Internet haves and havenots • Unequal access due to: – Socioeconomic status, race, educational attainment, rural, infrastructure, geography • Rural areas face low adoption rates due to cost, geographic isolation, lack of knowledge
  3. 3. Solutions • Government introduced E-Rate program in 1996, providing discounts to libraries and schools • Additional support from ARRA (2008- ), National Broadband Initiative (2009 -) • For all areas, especially rural, the public library is looked to as an anchor institution
  4. 4. Rural Libraries • Definition: Inconsistent; Not urban • Used to lag far behind urban counterparts, but today, nearly 100% offer Web access • Still face large challenges in funding, support, service delivery, patronage • Can seize opportunity to add to service delivery, advocacy, community leadership
  5. 5. Economic Challenges • Lots of funding has been put into place to establish connections • Increased maintenance/updating costs • Human costs: – IT Staff? Nope. – Staff’s time for user training/assistance – Little training available for librarians
  6. 6. Geographic and Cultural Challenges • Rural folks are among those who might benefit most from effective access, but they are among least aware – Increased need for library to promote/educate – Local governments not likely to increase funds • Geographic isolation makes it difficult to get support service and for patrons to access library
  7. 7. Opportunities for Improvement • Grants should be simplified so small/less knowledgeable libraries can get them • Grants should be more flexible to accommodate unique needs • ALA Committee on Rural, Native, and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds and Clarion University’s Center for the Study of Rural Librarianship have contributed little in recent research
  8. 8. Questions? (If I haven’t put you to sleep)
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