Kennedy Announces Grants For Guilford and Branford Libraries
State Library Board has approved funds for the Guilford Free Library and Branford’s James Blackstone Memorial Library
Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. joined Representative Lonnie Reed and Representative Sean Scanlon today in welcoming the approval of grants approved by the State Library Board to bring high-speed fiber internet to libraries in Guilford and Branford.
“Local libraries have evolved over the past century from quiet nooks of solitude and study to active, engaging centers of community activity, from kids to senior citizens, from businessmen to college students. Libraries are the first place many members of our community go to learn and explore the world around them,” said Senator Kennedy. “These grants will modernize our local libraries, bringing more information at higher speeds. Libraries are some of the most important assets in our communities, and it is important that we continue to invest in them to ensure their continued use for many years to come.”
“The Blackstone Library’s vital role continues to evolve to meet the needs of our community,” said Representative Reed. “When the recession hit in 2008 and so many jobs were lost, the Blackstone is where people headed to learn how to write resumes and search online for new employment opportunities. The dedicated Blackstone staff is eager to meet the growing demands from residents of all ages and upgrading the technology is critical to that mission. I am grateful to the State Library Board for approving this important grant.”
“Libraries are such a vital part of our communities and I’m very happy to see the state is making sound investments in two truly great resources for the people of Guilford and Branford,” said Representative Scanlon.
“We have been seeking a fiber-optic connection for many years to help deal the demands being put on our DSL connection by the proliferation of wireless devices added to the already huge number of patrons using our hardwired computers. We’re thrilled to finally be getting this connection, which will more than double the current capacity available to the public,” said Rob McCoole, Assistant Director of the Guilford Free Library.
“This grant is offered specifically to upgrade the library to fiber internet connectivity. These funds, combined with federal E-Rate funds, will pay for the cost of fiber installation. We are really excited to upgrade to fiber, which offers faster speed, better reliability and greater upload and download capacity. This is a crucial improvement for patrons who rely on our computer network for job search, education, and training opportunities, since our current capacity is often exceeded,” said Karen Jensen, Director of the James Blackstone Memorial Library.
The Guilford Free Library will receive $17,440 and Branford’s James Blackstone Memorial Library will receive $28,700. These funds will be used to install high-speed fiber connections to the Connecticut Education Network. These grants are the product of legislation passed in 2015, which made appropriations for Grants-in-Aid for high-speed connections to the Connecticut Education Network. The Guilford Free Library and James Blackstone Memorial library are just two of 90 libraries around the state that will receive these grants.
In a letter sent to Senator Kennedy informing him about the funding approval, John Barry and Kendall Wiggin of the State Library Board said, “Public libraries serve as critical gateways to information outside one’s own community, and in the Information Age this role has become even more important. Libraries give people without home computers free access to the Internet, helping residents close the digital divide. As reliance upon public libraries to provide broadband telecommunications services for their community increases, it becomes essential to have high-speed connectivity in libraries across the state.”