American Library Association welcomes new FCC E-rate proceeding
For Immediate Release
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Following a Senate hearing with expert testimony (PDF) from Maine State Librarian Linda Lord on the impact and successes of the E-rate program, the American Library Association (ALA) welcomes the forthcoming Notice of Proposed Rulemaking from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to modernize this vital Universal Service program.
“ALA has heard from dozens of our members sharing examples of what the E-rate program has enabled in our communities—particularly as it relates to meeting community employment, education and government online information and service needs,” said Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the ALA Washington Office. “Library Internet access has been a lifeline and a virtual ladder for many Americans needing to stay afloat and move ahead in a time of economic turmoil and swift technological change.”
“Now is the time to shift from making sure every library and school is connected to focusing on developing the telecommunications capacity desperately needed to support 21st-century digital learning needs,” Sheketoff added. “At the same time, we also welcome the opportunity to continue reforms begun in the last FCC order that will simplify the process so that more libraries can participate, and focus on program efficiencies that will maximize available funding.”
“Finally, we must strengthen the E-rate program so that it continues to meet its mission of ensuring no one is excluded from the opportunities of the Information Age. The program must be adequately resourced. It is not sustainable that demand on the program is double the available funding—and actual need is certainly greater still. We must seriously consider every avenue for improving this program so that libraries and schools have affordable and robust network capabilities available to them.
“ALA looks forward to this substantive and momentous policy conversation, and thanks FCC Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and Commissioner Ajit Pai for initiating the E-rate 2.0 rulemaking,” Sheketoff concluded.
About the American Library Association
The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 58,000 members in academic, public, school, government, and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.