The FCC voted another $1.5 billion to E-Rate, a federal subsidy program that brings high speed broadband to schools and libraries, and advocates, including the American Library Assocation and the Association for Rural & Small Libraries, are voicing their cheer.
From the Andrew Carnegie–era temples of learning to the small cinderblock “Lindsay boxes” built during Mayor John Lindsay’s administration from 1966–1973, New York City’s 207 library branches are as varied as its population. And like much of the city, they are feeling the crunch of budget cuts and neglect.
On July 11, a big E-Rate vote for Wi-Fi funding for schools and libraries is coming up. The latest FCC proposal states that libraries’ Wi-Fi funding be determined by a space’s square footage—$1 per square foot. With $2 billion at stake, librarians across the country are objecting to this funding formula with claims that it doesn’t serve high-need urban libraries where square footage does not represent the number of visitors.
Summer is a tough time for many kids—when they don’t get enough to eat. Summer meal programs are critical and public libraries are uniquely suited to host them. While outside of traditional library services, providing food to hungry citizens is “another way we can serve the community,” says Susan Maldonado, teen services librarian at Oakland Public Library.
Make It @ Your Library, in collaboration with Instructables.com and the American Library Association, has finally launched its searchable website, makeitatyourlibrary.org, for librarians seeking maker space ideas and projects. Make It @ Your Library—an initiative developed through the ILEAD USA program over the past year—aims to help librarians realize maker projects in their own communities at low cost.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Monday that he would expand the Chicago Public Library’s (CPL) YOUmedia digital skills program by $500,000 in order to serve 25 percent more teens in 2014. The program teaches web design, digital media production, and programming. The announcement comes just a week after the online expansion of CPL’s homework help program.
The Helen Gurley Brown Trust has given $15 million to the New York Public Library to establish NYPL BridgeUp, a new educational and anti-poverty program that will provide academic and social support to New York City youth. The effort aims to support at-risk youth and prepare them for success in life.