Muskingum County Library convenes national, state and community leaders, confronts digital divide

For Immediate Release
Fri, 07/24/2020


Shawnda Hines

ALA Media Relations

Communications & Marketing / Public Policy & Advocacy

CHICAGO – On Tuesday, July 28, at 1 p.m. ET, American Library Association (ALA) President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr., will pay a virtual visit to Muskingum County Library in Zanesville, Ohio, where he will discuss with community leaders, including U.S. Rep. Troy Balderson (R-12) and Zanesville Mayor Don Mason, how the library provides access to broadband and more traditional tools to keep the community connected.

Muskingum County Library will host a roundtable discussion, Keeping Communities Connected in Ohio and Beyond, on how federal and state legislation will impact communities like Muskingum County, throughout Ohio and around the country. Long before COVID-19, Muskingum County Library was key to community connectivity. Today, the library system is adapting in-person programs for online delivery, including reading bedtime stories on local radio stations. Along with Jefferson, conversation participants include:

  • Stacey Russell, interim director, Muskingum County Library
  • U.S. Rep. Troy Balderson
  • Sen. Tim Schaffer, Ohio State Senate
  • Donald Mason, Mayor, City of Zanesville
  • Jamie Barker, Southeast Ohio District Director, Office of U.S. Senator Rob Portman
  • Peter Voderberg, chief, BroadbandOhio

“Muskingum County Library and libraries across Ohio are improving lives every day, helping people find jobs and build careers, providing internet access to underserved communities, empowering students as they develop literacy skills that will lead to lifelong learning,” said Jefferson. “Many of these successes take place in the shadows. Their stories need to be told, their local community and professional organization need to listen, and their elected leaders need to support them.”

Muskingum County Library is the second on Jefferson’s 12-stop virtual tour, Holding Space: A national conversation series with libraries, to spotlight how libraries of all kinds across the country are addressing the needs of their diverse communities and engaging stakeholders to advocate for libraries. At each stop of the 10-day tour, Jefferson will hold community discussions exploring local and national solutions to local and national issues addressed by libraries, such as workforce development programs, children and family services, outreach to rural residents, and broadband for rural and Tribal communities.

For more information on tour stops and how to join, visit To speak with ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr., or other library leaders/advocates, contact:

  • Shawnda Hines, assistant director, communications, ALA Public Policy and Advocacy Office, at (202) 628-8410 ext. 8208 or
  • Steve Zalusky, Communications Specialist, ALA Communications and Marketing Office, at (312) 280-1546 or

The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library's role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit