Osten Announces $48,000 Awarded to Ledyard, Marlborough Libraries for High-Speed Internet
State Senator Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) recently announced that the State Library Board has awarded more than $40,000 to two local libraries for high-speed fiber connections to the Connecticut Education Network.
The Ledyard Public Library was awarded $18,700 in grant funding, and the Richmond Memorial Library in Marlborough was awarded a $22,100 grant.
“Our libraries are transforming their services to meet the requirements of the digital age, and having access to high-speed internet is critical for these centers of knowledge in our community,” said Sen. Osten. “Keeping up with technology is essential for our libraries, which are committed to offering services and programs that residents rely on. Whether it’s a student working on a research project after school, a person using the library’s computers to apply for jobs online, or residents who want to take advantage of the great resources our libraries offer for learning or relaxation—reliable high-speed internet is a must and I am extremely happy that our libraries have been chosen to participate in this program.”
Ledyard’s Bill Library and Marlborough’s Richmond Memorial are two of the first public libraries in the state to receive a grant under this program. It’s expected that the connection will be completed in 2017.
“The Richmond Memorial Library is thrilled to have been chosen to receive more than $22,000 in funding to build a fiber connection to our library through the Connecticut Education Network,” said Library Director Nancy Wood. “This opportunity offered to us by a grant from the Connecticut State Library with approval by the Connecticut Legislature will finally offer our citizens free, high-speed internet access through their local library. I have waited years for this to happen, and finally, high-speed internet will come to Richmond and all its many customers.”
“This is extremely good news. The fiber installation will be very helpful to our library and residents,” said Ledyard Public Library Director Gale Bradbury, who noted the current DSL internet at the Bill location is so slow it had to be supplemented with cable internet, and computers are still prone to ‘slowdowns.’
“Computer usage is absolutely one of the highest uses at our library, and we have a regular contingent of residents who come into use our services daily. We are really looking forward to this upgrade,” Bradbury said.
In addition to support from the Federal Schools and Libraries E-Rate program, the grants will cover all costs of installation of the fiber connection.
In a joint letter announcing the local funding, State Library Board Chairman John N. Barry and State Librarian Kendall F. Wiggin wrote that “Public Libraries serve as critical gateways to information outside of 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 universal high-speed connectivity in libraries across the state.”
In 2015, the General Assembly appropriated $3.6 million for Grants-in-Aid for high-speed connections to the Connecticut Education Network. On May 27, 2016, the State Bond Commission approved an allocation and bond authorization to the State Library that will fund high-speed internet connections for more than 90 libraries in the state.