Contact: Jenni Terry
For Immediate Release
June 11, 2009
WASHINGTON — The American Library Association (ALA) joined with representatives of schools, libraries, health care providers and others today in announcing the launch of the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition to promote the deployment of high-capacity broadband facilities to these anchor institutions.
The SHLB Coalition was formed to highlight the urgent need these organizations have for high-capacity and affordable broadband connections for the 21st century. The coalition seeks to improve the broadband capabilities of schools, libraries and health care providers so that they can enhance the quality and availability of the essential services they provide to the public and serve underserved and unserved populations more effectively.
“The Internet has become a fundamental cornerstone of modern education, learning, health care delivery, economic growth, social interaction, job training, government services, and the dissemination of information and free speech,” said John Windhausen, Jr., coordinator of the coalition.
“High-capacity broadband is the key infrastructure that K-12 schools, universities and colleges, libraries, hospitals, clinics and other health care providers need to provide 21st century education, information and health services. The coalition is dedicated to ensuring that each and every school, library and health care provider has robust, affordable, high-capacity, broadband connections.”
The members of the coalition include the American Association of Community Colleges, American Hospital Association, American Library Association, Benton Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Center for Media Justice, Center for Rural Strategies, Consortium for School Networking, Consumer’s Union, Council of Chief State School Officers, EDUCAUSE, Free Press, International Society for Technology in Education, Internet2, Main Street Project, Media Access Project, Media and Democracy Coalition, Media Mobilizing Project, Microsoft, National Alliance for Media, Arts and Culture, National Hispanic Media Coalition, National Rural Health Association, New America Foundation, Public Knowledge, Sunesys, Texas Media Empowerment Project, United Church of Christ, AND U.S. PIRG.
The coalition believes that connecting these anchor institutions with high-capacity broadband will generally provide the greatest benefits to those people who need it most — rural, low-income, disabled, elderly, societally and economically disadvantaged, and other unserved and underserved segments of the population.
“Like our colleagues in schools and healthcare, libraries promote broadband deployment by serving as anchor tenants to build new markets and stimulate build out,” Lynne Bradley, director of the ALA Office of Government Relations, said.
“Libraries promote demand for broadband by providing the training on information literacy and introducing people to the multitude of services and opportunities available through broadband connectivity. Libraries also promote adoption of broadband services as the public learns that broadband is a means to an end — full participation in our information economy.”
The mission statement of the SHLB Coalition can be viewed here.
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