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ALA, APTS and PBS Discuss DTV Transition Partnership

Loriene RoyToday, the American Library Association (ALA), the Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) and PBS provided more information about their partnership to create a grassroots outreach effort to educate the public about the rapidly approaching Digital Television (DTV) Transition deadline. The three organizations are working together to develop an initiative that will reach citizens directly in their communities and provide them with straightforward, uncomplicated answers about the switchover.

ALA, APTS and PBS will create and distribute a resource kit that includes informative materials libraries can provide to their patrons on a daily basis, or as handouts for workshops about the transition. Online links and video segments will also be available for libraries to provide on the Web. Public Television stations will provide the expert personnel to serve as presenters at library events and to help librarians answer questions from their patrons. The local phase of the initiative will launch in October.

The press conference, which took place at the National Press Club, coincided with ALA’s annual National Library Legislative Day. The two-day event brought together over 400 people from across the country to highlight the critical role libraries play in the life of our nation.

“While awareness of the February 17, 2009 analog shutoff date is growing, research also shows that many people are confused about what they can do to navigate the transition,” said Dr. Loriene Roy, President, American Library Association. “As trusted local resources, libraries and Public Television stations are in a unique position to team up and help people get the information they need, especially those who depend exclusively on over-the-air antenna reception for their television service.”

“Our most recent polling found that the number of Americans who have ‘no idea’ of the transition fell from 61 percent in November 2006, to 20 percent this past February,” said Jeffrey R. Davis, APTS Vice President of Communications. “Unfortunately, these gains in awareness have not been uniform across all populations. For example, 33.2 percent of African American respondents in the latest APTS survey had ‘no idea’ of the transition — more than 65 percent than the general population! A similar disparity exists when it comes to income levels, with 31.3 percent of households with incomes under $25,000 annually having ‘no idea’ of the transition. Our grassroots partnership will be critical in reaching these targeted populations who are not getting the message about the transition.”

“Public libraries and Public Television stations are two of the first places people turn to when they need information they can rely on,” said Paula Kerger, PBS President and CEO. “The Digital Transition deadline represents a sweeping technology change for our nation and far too many are at risk of being left behind. We are very proud of this partnership, which will provide important, easily accessible DTV education – helping people to make sense of all of their options for navigating the analog shutoff successfully.”

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

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