Today, the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy released “U.S. Public Libraries and BTOP,” a new report (pdf) that details U.S. library engagement with the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).
The preliminary report is the first of its kind to highlight statewide library BTOP projects and the improvements they have made to public access technology resources, digital literacy and workforce development.
Highlights from the report:
The Maine State Library is working with the Volunteer Lawyers Project to provide legal information clinics through new library videoconferencing technology. The clinics will be offered in real time, allowing patrons at multiple locations, and especially in rural locations, to attend and ask questions directly of the presenting attorney.
More than 365,000 Coloradans increased their digital literacy skills through that state’s BTOP project. Ninety-five percent of those who took formal classes in Colorado stated they learned a valuable skill and would recommend the classes to others.
The Nebraska Library Commission expects to more than double its grant goal (45 libraries) for upgrading broadband speeds in this mostly rural state. Of the 85 libraries upgraded so far, the average speed moved from 2.9Mbps to 18.2Mbps. All 147 Nebraska libraries now offer Wi-Fi.