First National Inclusive Gigabit Libraries Forum

The first National Inclusive Gigabit Libraries forum took place at the California Library Association’s pre-conference at the San Jose Conference Center, on Friday, November 2. The aim of the forum was to promote the exchange of ideas among leaders with different types of expertise. Multiple perspectives are needed for developing innovations to demonstrate the potential of high-speed broadband in areas such as community and economic development, education, health care, government service delivery, and civic engagement.

Inclusive Gigabit Libraries is a forum that will examine how libraries can play a leading role in building next-generation Internet applications and services designed to operate on ultra-fast broadband networks that several communities are building. Currently 25 cities are partners in the US Ignite Initiative. This initiative brings together high-speed broadband resources to create test beds across universities and cities throughout the United States at a national scale. So many common concerns—from safe energy to health information, from workforce development to public safety—could benefit from these networks.

One of the key questions that emerged from the White House launch of U.S. Ignite is: how can libraries, as anchor institutions, leverage these networks and applications to benefit communities? We have invited library, education, and civic leaders to participate. The interactive forum on November 2–prior to the California Library Association conference in San Jose–will feature case studies presented by the guest speakers who have spearheaded projects in several communities; these presentations will be tailored to libraries to showcase how next-generation networks can meet the current challenges that libraries face. We will also discuss and brainstorm future possibilities and assessment.

The speakers were:

· Grace Agnew, Associate University Librarian for Digital Library Systems, Rutgers University Libraries

· Corinne Hill, Executive Director, Chattanooga Public Library

· Louis Fox, President and CEO, Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC)

· Jon Gant, Director, Center for Digital Inclusion, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

For more information, see:

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