Starting January 1, ALA Immediate Past President and Executive Director, Cuyahoga County Public Library, will join the board of the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition. The coalition promotes government policies and programs that enable schools, libraries, health care providers, other anchor institutions and their communities to obtain open, affordable, high-speed broadband connections to the Internet.
As someone who has had the pleasure of working with Sari as an ALA staffer, as well as serving on the SHLB board, I know this connection is like chocolate and peanut butter. Most recently, Sari was a featured voice in the vision paper that set the stage for a series of policy papers, compiled together and released this year as the SHLB Broadband Action Plan.
“Libraries are transforming into community hubs for digital content creation and collaboration,” she said. “Having a high-speed and resilient Internet connection at each and every library is essential to ensuring a full range of services related to education, employment, entrepreneurship, empowerment and community engagement for all.” As the person who initiated the ALA Libraries Transform public awareness campaign, Sari knows well that high-capacity broadband powers much of our modern library services. She also was recently elected to serve as board chair-elect for DigitalC, a Cleveland-based civic tech collaboration, starting in March 2017.
SHLB’s work is vital to fulfilling a national vision of connected libraries and communities. ALA has been involved from the beginning as a founding member for the coalition when it was created in 2009 to advocate for community anchor institutions as part of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. SHLB formally incorporated and named its first board of directors in 2012.
This last year has been a busy one, and 2017 promises more action. A free webinar on Partnerships and Rural Broadband Needs will take place January 10, and proposals for the 2017 conference are being accepted through January 16.
Congratulations to both Sari and to SHLB for making a great connection that will serve to advance broadband for libraries and other community anchor institutions!