online @ your library

Recovery.gov logoThe Idaho Commission for Libraries' "online @ your library" Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant expanded broadband and computing capacity from an average of 1.5 Mbps to an average of 11 Mbps Internet connectivity in Idaho's least connected public libraries and increased the online resources available statewide at lili.org for Idahoans, including K-12 students and job seekers.

BTOP Budget
Federal funds: $1,907,531
Matching funds:   942,815*
Total budget:   $2,850,346
*Over 20% project match provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, augmented with in-kind and resource contributions from ICfL and key partners, including the Idaho Department of Labor, Idaho Public Television, and Idaho Professional-Technical Education.

BTOP Award Period
August 2010 to August 2013

Goals

  • Provide free broadband access to Internet-based resources in Idaho's public libraries.
  • Provide informal education resources for K-12 students.
  • Address needs of the underemployed.

Strategies

  • Extend broadband connectivity.
  • Provide more public access computers.
  • Expand online library resources.
  • Provide library-based workshops pivoting around online resources.
  • Publicize online library resources and free public access computing at the library.
  • Ensure sustainability.

What the BTOP grant covered

  • Cost of expanding broadband connectivity in 55 public libraries
  • Cost of connectivity and bandwidth during the two-year grant period for these libraries
  • Cost of new computers for public access computing in these public libraries
  • New online resources available to all Idahoans through LiLI.org
  • Direct cost of delivering training to public library staff on E-Rate, public computer center maintenance, and online services
  • Grant project management

New online resources available to all Idahoans through LiLI.org include:

BTOP fact sheets and flyers:

The connectivity libraries

Eligibility of the connectivity libraries was based on connectivity speed (libraries with 4 Mbps or less) and demographic criteria (libraries that serve BTOP-defined "vulnerable populations").

Expectations for connectivity libraries:

  • expand their Internet connectivity bandwidth and the number of computers available to the public.
  • partner with regional Adult Basic Education (ABE) Centers and the Idaho Department of Labor to introduce adults to online resources.
  • promote and encourage digital literacy.
  • consider E-Rate funding as a strategy for sustaining their public computing centers.

 The Commission's Public Computing Center BTOP project, "online @ your library," was among the grants awarded by the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on August 18, 2010.