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ALA applauds announcement of FNPRM on digital literacy training in libraries

The American Library Association (ALA) welcomes today’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Order (pdf) voted on by the Commission that will reform the Lifeline program.  ALA has been monitoring this proceeding and is pleased to note that the Commission will be issuing a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) to address the need for digital literacy training in libraries and schools as part of Chairman Genachowski’s ongoing broadband adoption initiatives.

“The Chairman today echoed the sentiment of librarians serving communities across the country when he said digital literacy training will help more Americans participate fully in our 21st century economy and society,” said Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director of the ALA’s Washington Office.

“Librarians are skilled at developing digital literacy programs that meet the specific needs of their communities — whether rural and remote, or urban — and are trained to assess the skill level of the person coming into the library so that she or he gets the most out of the class.”

It is ALA’s understanding that funding for the digital literacy training will be realized by the reforms to Lifeline, and ALA supports this additional and necessary infusion of funds into libraries and schools to bolster their capacity to provide digital literacy training to their communities.    ALA looks forward to the opportunity to respond to specific questions in the FNPRM to help determine the most effective and efficient way to ensure the success of the Commission’s proposal.

ALA thanks the Chairman for his continued recognition of the key role libraries play in supporting a digitally literate society.

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


  1. I look forward to the amazing role libraries and schools will continue to play in fostering the adoption of broadband by people who would otherwise miss the bus. I say ‘continue’ because it’s very clear from a number of studies that these institutions have been the first point of contact with the digital world for tens of millions of Americans (and many more millions in the rest of the world).

    One aspect that ALA can provide leadership on is accessibility for people with disabilities. These folks are already on the lagging edge of broadband adoption. The FCC should support a substantial accessibility component in its digital literacy program. This would include training the trainers on accessibility, subsidizing assistive technology where feasible, and connecting schools and libraries to the growing community of practice on inclusion.

  2. Karen Perry Karen Perry

    Bravo to ALA for their work in this arena! So great to see the FCC’s strong statement and recognition of the work that libraries do to help people with digital and information literacy. This is a need that contunues in teh field, an area where librarians are poised to help, and a huge opportunity to meet people in the community at “point of need.” Bravo!

  3. Marijke Visser Marijke Visser

    Jim, you raise several good suggestions that we will be sure to pass on to the FCC staff working on digital literacy and broadband adoption. The FCC in general is committed to addressing specific issues faced by people with disabilities and how these issues affect their ability to go online. We believe that one of the next phases of the broadband adoption working group at the FCC is to look at these issues. Through our relationship with this FCC team we will be able to bring your concerns and suggestions directly to their attention.

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