[Libs-Or] INFORMATION: Senate E-rate hearing to feature Maine State Librarian

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Mon Jul 15 13:32:42 PDT 2013


Senate E-rate hearing to feature Maine State Librarian
Posted on July 15, 2013 by Larra Clark

Maine State Librarian (and ALA E-rate Task
Force<http://www.ala.org/groups/committees/ala/ala-ertf>Chair) Linda
Lord will be the voice of libraries to the U.S. Senate
Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on July 17 when it holds
a hearing<http://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Hearings&ContentRecord_id=4395bf05-e4b9-4477-93df-e54faf2a81c5&ContentType_id=14f995b9-dfa5-407a-9d35-56cc7152a7ed&Group_id=b06c39af-e033-4cba-9221-de668ca1978a&MonthDisplay=7&YearDisplay=2013>on
strengthening the
E-Rate <http://www.districtdispatch.org/category/e-rate/> program and
expanding access to the latest digital technology and learning tools in our
libraries and schools. The hearing is timed to coincide with the July 19
Open Meeting <http://www.fcc.gov/open-commission-meeting-july-2013> of the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), at which Commissioners will
consider an E-rate Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM).

"We are pleased Commerce Committee Chair John D. Rockefeller IV invited
Linda and ALA to participate in this national forum," said Jeff Kratz,
Assistant Director, ALA Office of Government Relations. "This is a
wonderful recognition of our leadership on behalf of libraries and our
communities in the E-rate program and is an important opportunity to
showcase how libraries bring together critical internet access with a host
of learning opportunities for K12 students and the general public."

Many of you may be up to speed on all things E-rate, but a few words of
background for those new to the term and recent E-rate news:

   - E-rate <http://www.ala.org/advocacy/telecom/erate> (also known as the
   Schools and Libraries Universal Service support mechanism) is a critical
   federal technology funding source for public libraries--providing over $100
   million to support library connectivity each year. Eligible libraries and
   schools apply for and receive discounts for internet access,
   telecommunications services, and related internal wiring cost.  With the
   help of the E-rate program, 70 percent of libraries now offer internet
   connections speeds greater than 1.5Mbps, compared with 15 percent a decade
   - Each year more than $2 in E-rate funds are requested for every $1
   available.  Thus it is clear that the program needs substantially more
   funding to address the increasing broadband and other network needs of our
   libraries and schools (for more information on the "E-rate fiscal cliff",
   click here<http://www.districtdispatch.org/2013/02/e-rates-looming-fiscal-cliff/>
   - Earlier this year, Senator
   FCC Commissioner Jessica
others began calling for an "E-rate 2.0" to ensure the program meets
   the future connectivity needs of libraries and schools.
   - In June, President Obama announced
   which called on the FCC to modernize and leverage the E-rate program to
   connect 99 percent of America's students to the internet through high-speed
   broadband and high-speed wireless within five years.

Taken together, there is a lot of momentum for taking a fresh look at this
vital program. The ALA has been working closely with members of the E-rate
Task Force <http://www.ala.org/advocacy/telecom/erate/taskforce> to
document how this investment of funds has made a difference in our
communities, cultivate Congressional E-rate champions, develop library
perspectives on how the program might be further improved, and "think
boldly" as Susan
a standing-room only crowd at the ALA Annual Conference in
Chicago when discussing ConnectED.

There are several ways librarians nationwide can participate in this
important effort to sustain and strengthen the E-rate program.

   1. Both the hearing<http://www.commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=Home>and
the FCC
   meeting <http://www.fcc.gov/live> will be webcast. Log on and listen in.
   2. If you live in a state with a senator that serves on the
   let them know how your community benefits from the E-rate investment in
   library connectivity.
   3. No matter where you live, share your E-rate and library broadband
   success stories with the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy.
   Email Marijke Visser and/or Larra Clark at mvisser at alawash.org and
   lclark at alawash.org.

Here's how Cherryfield (Maine) Public Library Co-Director Cara Sawyer told
her story: "We were proud to be the first library in our area to partner
with the Smithsonian Museums for Interactive Video Conference Programs.
Without our high-speed internet, there is no way we would even have a
Tandberg Video Conferencing Device, never mind use it for such fabulous
programming. The connection has also allowed us to use our Tandberg to
connect with other library programs throughout the state for programs such
as Lawyers in Libraries and informational sessions for small business with
the IRS. Our little library would not exist in today's day and age without
the support of E-rate, and the internet connection it supports. We have
been dubbed 'The Little Library that Could'--but without E-rate...we couldn't!"

"This is a critical time for librarians to show how we are working to
fulfill--or are challenged in our attempt to fulfill--the vision of the 1996
Telecommunications Act to assure that no one is barred from benefiting from
the power of the Information Age," said Larra Clark, director, Program on
Networks, ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP).

"I'd like to give special thanks to Linda for being such a knowledgeable
leader within the E-rate Task Force, and for bringing her years of
experience and her advocacy to Washington, D.C., this week," Marijke
Visser, associate director, Program on Networks, added.

While Commissioners will consider the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on July
19, it likely won't be available for days or weeks to follow. Stay tuned on
the District Dispatch <http://www.districtdispatch.org/category/e-rate/> as
we share Linda Lord's testimony and more details on the hearing and


*Diedre Conkling**
Lincoln County Library District
P.O. Box 2027
Newport, OR 97365
Phone & Fax: 541-265-3066
Work email**: **diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org*<diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org>
Home email: **diedre08 at gmail.com* <diedre08 at gmail.com>

 "If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change
your attitude."--Maya Angelou
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