June 20, 2018

New Haven PL’s Welbourne: Technology Funds Could Help Libraries

By LJ Staff

On Nov. 19, James Welbourne, the director of the New Haven Free Library in Connecticut, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet about the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust (DO IT) and its potential value to libraries. The Digital Opportunity Investment Trust (DO IT) would create an education trust fund by using the billions of dollars in revenue from auctions of unused, publicly-owned telecommunications spectrum. Representing the American Library Association, Welbourne said, “Urban and rural libraries with limited financial resources face constant and difficult challenges as they work to provide equitable services because of both geographical and technological barriers. DO IT funds helps to even the playing field, by providing opportunities to enhance staff development and training, break down geographic and technology barriers to access, and promote new and exciting educational opportunities.” In New Haven, he said, “Funds could extend Technology Access Centers (TAC) to remote community-based locations such as public housing centers, youth development organizations, and police sub-stations; and funds could go to updating hardware and software accessories and providing critical technology support services to the public and library staff. The trust fund would enhance public participation in civic activities and could be used to invest in new technologies and promote lifelong learning.”