For immediate release | February 14, 2013

FCC chairman addresses ALA conference, role of libraries in digital literacy

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski joined more than 10,000 librarians and library advocates at the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Seattle January 25-29. Chairman Genachowski’s video message to them: Thank you.

The ALA and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) have worked with Chairman Genachowski and FCC staff members to support broadband adoption – with a focus on digital literacy training through our nation’s roughly 16,400 public library locations.

“For millions of Americans, libraries are the only place where they can get online. For millions more, libraries are an important complement to their at-home connectivity,” said Chairman Genachowski in the video. “I believe libraries are more important than ever in empowering people to thrive in the digital age. Now is the time to close America’s skills gap. I hope every library and every community will join me in this commitment this year.”

Nearly 100 million Americans don’t have broadband access at home, and 66 million Americans lack basic digital literacy skills. This spring, the Ad Council will team up with the nonprofit Connect2Compete to begin a national campaign to promote digital literacy and motivate people to access free community resources and training. Libraries already play an essential role in meeting this demand and will continue be important partners in the work ahead.

“This gap in digital literacy skills has an impact on every aspect of society: our economy, education, health care, and civic engagement,” said ALA President Maureen Sullivan. “The ALA is proud to work with the FCC, IMLS and others to support our state and local libraries in making sure everyone in our communities can fully participate in the digital age.”

Libraries may access and share the video with other key stakeholders by visiting the ALA Washington Office’s YouTube channel. Additional information on ALA and related library digital literacy efforts can be found here and here, and additional information on the Ad Council effort will be available by mid-March.


Jazzy Wright

Press Officer

Washington Office (WASH)

800-545-2433 ext. 8208