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ALA to Co-Host Brown Bag Lunch on Broadband, Education

On September 27, from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m., several organizations including the American Library Association (ALA) are hosting a “brown bag lunch” to discuss the effect of broadband Internet connectivity on today’s libraries and schools.

The meeting – “How Broadband is Changing Educational Institutions and the Lives of Those Who Use Them” – is part of the Alliance for Public Technology’s Broadband Changed My Life Series and is open to the public by RSVP.

Other sponsoring organizations include the National Association of Independent Schools and the National Catholic Educational Association.

Representing ALA is Information Technology Policy Specialist Mark Bard, who will discuss the need for broadband in public libraries, as evidenced by the recent report, Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2006-2007.

That study found that ever-growing patron demand for computer and Internet services in U.S. public libraries has stretched existing Internet bandwidth, computer availability and building infrastructure to capacity. Further, more than 73 percent of libraries report they are the only source of free public access to computers and the Internet in their communities.

“As the Libraries Connect Communities study showed, libraries continue to play an important role in communities as gateways to access information and services,” Bard said. “Unfortunately, despite increased public demand for these technology services, libraries have not seen a corresponding increase in their budgets. As a result, many libraries are challenged to provide fast-enough connection speeds to meet community need.”

“And in fact, this is something all educational institutions have had to deal with,” Bard added. “The other distinguished speakers at our brown bag lunch will demonstrate just that.”


This meeting will take place Thursday, September 27, from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. at 919 18th Street NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC. RSVP to or 202-263-2970. Sign language interpreters are available upon request.

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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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