online @ your library

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The Commission's "online @ your library" Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant has 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.

New online resources available to all Idahoans through LiLI.org include a LearningExpress Library subscription, Scout Video Collections (with immediate access for Idaho teachers and students to more than 14,000 research-based instructional resources and with online access to full-length video productions by Idaho Public Television), Media online @ your library, Resources for Idaho Citizens page, health records online, and the Guided Virtual Capitol Tour and Self-Guided Virtual Capitol Tour.

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 under-employed.

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: including a LearningExpress Library subscription, Scout Video Collections (with immediate access for Idaho teachers and students to more than 14,000 research-based instructional resources and with online access to full-length video productions by Idaho Public Television), Media online @ your library,  Resources for Idaho Citizens page, health records online, and virtual Idaho Capitol tours--guided and self-guided.)
  • Direct cost of delivering training to public library staff on E-Rate, public computer center maintenance, and online services
  • Grant project management

BTOP fact sheets and flyers:

- IMPACT Survey Report November 2012: summarizes how patrons use the public access technology provided by libraries in Idaho based on IMPACT Survey responses.
- BTOP Update: Fall 2012
- BTOP Update: Spring 2012 

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.

Timeline and next steps (2010-2011)

Contact information for libraries and partners

 

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.