Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Libraries Get Broadband Stimulus Grants

Libraries in six states benefited the first round of awards from the $7.2-billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act broadband grant and loan programs. See
Libraries Get Broadband Stimulus Grants | American Libraries Magazine

The award categories include: “middle mile” projects that connect communities to broadband services; “last mile” projects that connect end users such as homes, schools, libraries, or businesses to the middle mile; public computing; and sustainable adoption of broadband services.

Funding involving libraries in this initial round included:

  • a $1.5-million sustainable broadband adoption grant (with an additional $591,000 in matching funds) to the New Mexico State Library to increase broadband adoption and promote computer literacy and Internet use statewide. The Associated Press reported that the program will provide small-group training at libraries in 15 communities, plus training offered by the state library to small organizations and business owners;
  • a $1.3-million public computing grant (with matching funds of $320,000) to the Arizona State Library, Archives, and Public Records to enhance existing facilities in more than 80 public libraries throughout the state;
  • a $1.9-million public computing grant (with matching funds of $477,000) to the city of Boston to expand computer and Internet capacity at the main library and 25 branches, 16 community centers, and 11 public housing sites;
  • a $39.7-million middle-mile grant (with matching funds of $9.9 million) to telecommunications firm ION Hold Co., LLC, to build 10 new segments of fiber-optic, middle-mile broadband infrastructure that will connect more than 100 institutions—including libraries, state and community colleges, and health clinics—as well as households and businesses, in more than 70 rural communities in upstate New York and parts of Pennsylvania and Vermont.
Lots of states and groups are after the broadband stimulus money. It's not surprising to see that Boston Public Libraries are benefiting, given that is the location of ALA Mid-winter Planning Meeting.

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