ALA Washington Office full steam ahead with advising libraries on BTOP applications

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jenni Terry

Washington, D.C. — The American Library Association’s (ALA) Washington Office announces its final push to inform and guide libraries as the August 14, 2009, deadline for the first-round Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant applications draws near. It will hold the third in a series of webinars Wednesday, which will focus on the “nuts and bolts” of the application process. 

ALA’s Washington Office has created and compiled a host of stimulus resources for libraries including webinars, instructional guidance, key links and a list of frequently asked questions page. These materials can be found at www.ala.org/knowyourstimulus

“We want to ensure every library interested in BTOP funding has the knowledge and guidance necessary for a successful application,” Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the ALA Washington Office, said.  

“Libraries serve as broadband access anchor institutions across the country and are the sole source of no-fee Internet access in 71 percent of communities. In today’s economy, the public demand for high-speed Internet at libraries is overwhelming, as people turn to their local libraries for assistance with online job searching, online and distance learning, e-government services and much more. Helping libraries secure stimulus funding for broadband service is a major goal for the ALA in our ongoing mission to ensure America’s libraries are equipped with the resources needed to serve the public.”

Sheketoff said the BTOP’s Public Computing Center Program has many opportunities for libraries to innovate and expand services, and the ALA Washington Office’s informational guide on applying to this program is a key document to which libraries should refer as the deadline approaches. This week, the ALA Washington Office also released a document on demonstrating the role of libraries in economic recovery for BTOP applicants.

The ALA Washington Office says libraries interested in applying for the Sustainable Broadband Adoption (SBA) Program must demonstrate how their projects will lead to a sustainable increase in demand for and subscribership to broadband. 

While informing the library community about the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) and application guidelines, the ALA Washington Office has also advocated for improvements to the BTOP Broadband Infrastructure Program so that libraries are more likely to apply and receive funding in the second and third rounds of the grant program.

For more information on applying to any of the three programs, library staff should check the resources and information available on www.ala.org/knowyourstimulus.

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