Texas Opportunity Online Broadband Summit

photo: Former governor Mark White converses with William Ladin, Chairman and CEO of Internet American and Peggy D. Rudd, TSLAC director and state librarian In October and November 2009, The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) hosted two Texas Opportunity Online Broadband Summits, assembling hundreds of public library leaders, community supporters, broadband providers, and local and state leaders to discuss how to improve and sustain high speed Internet access in Texas public libraries.

Currently, more than 200 Texas public library systems lack Internet connections fast enough to meet the most basic needs of patrons, and many more report speeds that are inadequate to meet the true demand of their community. Ironically, some of these public libraries offer the only technology lifeline to their communities.

Library futurist Stephen Abram spoke about future library services and the necessity of reliable broadband connections to support these services. Graham Richard, former mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana, highlighted the importance of public and private partnerships on the local and state level to prioritize funding for improved connectivity in public libraries.

Building on dialogue and ideas generated at the summits, TSLAC is currently working with an advisory group - including Commissioner Todd Staples of the Texas Department of Agriculture, former Governor Mark White, Texas State Library and Archives Commission Chairman Sandra J. Pickett - to develop a strategy to increase and sustain broadband connections in all Texas public libraries.

The summits were sponsored by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as part of its pilot Opportunity Online broadband grant program, which supports public libraries as they seek to improve their broadband connectivity.

Connected Nation worked closely with TSLAC to support the event development and execution.


More Information and Links

Opportunity Online website

Videos

Press Release from November summit

Press Release from October summit

American Library Association - OITP