Heading into the home stretch of the 2015 E-rate application cycle, more than 100 librarians put their paperwork (or keyboards) aside to participate in yesterday’s E-rate webinar hosted by the Public Library Association (PLA) and the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP). The webinar provided a detailed look at the filing process for the current (2015) funding year including: a review of changes to the eligible services list (ESL), tips for filing a successful form 470 (to initiate the application and request services) and form 471 (to give specifics on the services you’re requesting).
In addition to these specifics, the webinar also provides important links to information from the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) such as pertinent News Briefs, the online training site for the forms (a must for beginners and seasoned applicants), the Online Learning Library, and more. The slides of this information are reason enough to view as you will have the most useful links all in one location (and annotated).
Please note one correction from yesterday’s presentation. Slide #5 references the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) locale codes for determining which libraries are eligible for $5.00 per square foot for Category 2 services. The correct locale codes are: 11, 12, and 21.
Need to see it for yourself? The archive of the webinar is available below:
While there are 35 days left of the 2015 application window (but please remember that the final day for filing the form 470 is February 26), after you hit the submit button and pour yourself a cup of tea (or try the E-rate adult beverage), we encourage you to begin planning for 2016. As noted in the webinar, some of the more significant program changes related to Category 1, specific to ensuring libraries have access to high-capacity broadband to their doors, take effect in 2016. To fully take advantage of these new opportunities, libraries must plan ahead.
ALA is already in the planning phase for 2016. And working with our library partners like PLA, we are focusing on more outreach activities to help ensure libraries are equipped with information and support so they can help themselves to a generous serving of available E-rate funding. Refer to the “Got E-rate?” page, follow us @oitp and hashtag #libraryerate, and check back here for updates.