Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Towards Gigabit Libraries—Improving Broadband Service

This May, state library staff visited five rural libraries as part of Internet 2's Towards Gigabit Libraries pilot program, funded by a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library services (IMLS). This pilot program targets small, rural, and tribal libraries with limited information technology. The goal is to improve and evolve library staff understanding and interaction with their library's internet connection and related information technology (IT) infrastructure and services. One to three people conducted each visit; David Bradford and Steven Buras from the SDSL, and program administrator Carson Block.

Program Administrator, Carson Block (left) and Gregory librarian Diane Althoff discuss technology options and internet
By the end of the summer, the program will be publishing a toolkit that all libraries will be able to use at no cost. This toolkit takes a "look at the parts and pieces that make up the library's connection to the Internet, from the… broadband coming into the library to WiFi/inside wiring configurations to broadband-based applications and computer resources-- all at a level designed for laypeople. By leveraging the Toolkit's workbook/training format… they will be able to identify some short-term 'quick hits' and longer term actions to improve their library's broadband infrastructure. Further, they also will be able to better articulate to their leadership, policy makers, broadband service providers, and their community what the library needs" (Toolkit draft, April 2018).