Idaho Commission for LibrariesAddress: 325 W State St., Boise, ID 83702
Phone: (208) 334-2150 | In-State Toll Free: (800) 458-3271
Printed from the Idaho Commission for Libraries website: http://libraries.idaho.gov
What’s new with BTOP?
The Idaho Commission for Libraries (ICfL) has identified several essential activities to expand under our Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant and we have approval from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to extend the project timeline to mid-December 2012. Activities during the last six months of the project include the following:
Enhancing online resources
Digital literacy training and resources
Our goals are to build library users’ Internet and computer skills, help them use the available online resources, and educate them in the safe and ethical use of technology. We are doing that by:
- expanding the Department of Labor’s Idaho Youth Corps digital literacy coach program for summer 2012 to include both BTOP connectivity and non-connectivity libraries,
- working with the Idaho Office for Refugees to train several refugees to coach their peers one-on-one in digital literacy training and computer use in over a dozen languages,
- adding to the digital literacy resources at http://libraries.idaho.gov/page/digital-literacy, and
- offering a 14 book digital literacy collection to public library jurisdictions.
Online media literacy modules
We are developing an online (and DVD) guide on using the Internet to connect with Idaho news and media. The goals are for learners to build Internet and computer skills; use the Internet to be alert consumers of news and information; use “online @ your library” and lili.org resources; and use free public access computing resources at the library.
Public information and promotion
We continue to develop and air BTOP TV and radio public service announcements, in English and Spanish, through our partnership with IdahoPTV and Labor. We also use the Web, billboards, and social media, as well as distributing public information materials at conferences and workshops, and making presentations to other State agencies and State and National legislators when the opportunities arise. The Commission will also cultivate awareness of the “online @ your library” project among Idaho Press Club members and establish collaborative relationships with newspapers and broadcasters to publicize public library online services and public access computing.
Internal network upgrades, bandwidth support, and expanded Wi-Fi
Opportunities for BTOP connectivity libraries include expanding bandwidth for libraries with connectivity of less than four Mbps; continuing support for six months of bandwidth, July through December 2012 for the 55 libraries; adding more computers and pads; and internal network check-ups, including extending Wi-Fi.
Opportunities being offered to all public libraries include SonicWall firewall and filtering, Wi-Fi for any library that is willing to offer 24/7 beyond the walls, assistance for any public library that wishes to hook directly into Idaho Regional Optical Network (IRON), and assistance for any public library that wishes to run an “extension cord” from their local high school to the public library for after hours bandwidth supplement.
Fostering college and career readiness
A “College and Career Ready Summit: Moving Idaho Forward” is in the works for August 16–17, 2012 in Boise, to facilitate discussion and next-steps planning with other community partners to address the student dropout rate in Idaho and ensure that more students are college and career ready. As Idaho educators look to online learning, digital literacy and computer/Internet access for students become even more critical.
To date in the 55 connectivity libraries, broadband connectivity is sustained through local funding (25%) and federal E-Rate support (75%), 530 computers have been installed, Internet connectivity average is 11 Mbps, up from 1.5 Mbps, and there has been a 24% increase in the number of users of public access technology, as well as a three-fold increase in the number of visitors to the online resources offered at lili.org.
Moving forward, as we focus on digital literacy and sustainability, we continue to build on BTOP successes and support Idaho public libraries in their role as anchor institutions in their communities.
See more about the “online @ your library” project at http://libraries.idaho.gov/online.