ALA names Marijke Visser as E-rate and digital equity policy fellow

For Immediate Release
Fri, 09/22/2023

Contact:

Ian Ware

Communications Manager

Public Policy & Advocacy Office

American Library Association

iware@alawash.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, the American Library Association (ALA) announces the appointment of Marijke Visser as a policy fellow with the ALA Public Policy & Advocacy Office. Visser will advise ALA on broadband and digital inclusion policy, with an emphasis on policies and issues facing rural, Tribal and small libraries. She will provide expertise on the federal E-rate program and collaborate with ALA’s E-rate Task Force and ALA staff. As one of the nation’s most accomplished library & digital equity policy experts, Visser will play a key role in shaping ALA’s ongoing digital equity and advocacy priorities.  

Visser is director of Library Development at the Maine State Library, where she has served since 2021. Previously, she worked for ALA for 12 years, leading ALA’s engagement with the Federal Communications Commission on the development and modernization of the E-rate program, which provides federal broadband subsidies for libraries and schools. As ALA’s E-rate expert, Visser was instrumental in the successful long-term advocacy campaign to expand E-rate eligibility to more Tribal libraries and nations, increasing access to stable, high-speed internet across Indian Country. She also edited multiple editions of ALA Policy Perspectives, including “Built by E-rate” (2020), which highlights the development of Tribal-owned fiberoptic broadband infrastructure in New Mexico, a project enabled with E-rate subsidies following the program’s 2014 modernization, which itself was shaped in part by Visser and ALA’s advocacy.  

Visser has stewarded multiple national initiatives on library services for youth and digital skills development, working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as Google.org.   

“ALA is extremely fortunate to have capable individuals such as Marijke Visser working with us to advance national policy priorities,” said Alan S. Inouye, ALA’s senior director of public policy and government relations. “Libraries have many policy concerns, so the breadth and depth provided by our policy fellows is essential to our ability to adequately address the myriad issues before us. On behalf of ALA, I extend our sincere thanks for her willingness to serve.” 

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