Contact: Jenni Terry
ALA Washington Office
For Immediate Release
September 23, 2010
Washington, D.C. — The American Library Association (ALA) says an Order passed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today is a significant first step toward truly simplifying and streamlining the E-rate program, which is critical to libraries across the country.
The reforms outlined today by the FCC would adjust the annual funding cap to inflation, reinstate leased dark fiber as eligible for discounts, and simplify the application process — a reform the ALA has long sought and believes will lead to more successful library applications.
“These developments could ultimately bring more money to our libraries, which means better services for the public; however, in order to maximize these benefits, applicants need swift guidance from the FCC on the implementation of these rules,” said Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the ALA Washington Office.
“In light of the difficult budget constraints facing many libraries, we thank the Commission for its efforts today to increase the size of the program by indexing the funding cap to inflation, and we look forward to further efforts by the Commission to meet the needs of schools and libraries as part of comprehensive Universal Service reform.”
Linda Lord, chair of the ALA’s E-rate Taskforce and Maine State Librarian, said E-rate support is critical to providing robust connectivity for library services in communities nationwide.
“Without the E-rate Program, schools and libraries would not have access to critical resources such as online job training, government information and education resources. As technologies evolve and budgets remain tight, libraries will depend more and more on E-rate discounts, and the ALA believes increased funding will be required in the future to meet library needs.”