DUBLIN, Ohio, November 15, 2011. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded a grant of $249,871 to OCLC's WebJunction for a project to help communities across the country get started on the path to digital inclusion. The project will complement IMLS's efforts to help libraries and other community-based organizations make strategic decisions about providing public access to broadband.
Working with partners TechSoup Global, and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), WebJunction will evaluate the needs of libraries, community-based organizations (CBOs), and city and county managers seeking to get started with digital inclusion. Based on these findings, the partners will create and test a summit agenda for local community gatherings to develop a shared understanding about digital inclusion and begin to create an action plan.
The partners will make improvements to the agenda based on the test results and select a limited number of sites to participate in an in-person summit. Participating sites will identify teams of library representatives, city or county managers, and community-based organization representatives to participate in the program. Each team will develop and host at least one digital inclusion activity in its local community. The partners will also provide resources online at WebJunction, TechSoup Global, and ICMA's Knowledge Network. In addition, partners will evaluate and publish outcomes, and jointly report to IMLS on project effectiveness and lessons learned.
The National Broadband Plan released by the Federal Communications Commission in March 2010 noted that "absent action, the individual and societal costs of digital exclusion would continue to grow." The Plan recommended that IMLS provide leadership to libraries and CBOs as they improve digital adoption and use. In response, and in partnership with the University of Washington and the International City/County Management Association, IMLS has proposed a Framework for Digitally Inclusive Communities. The framework was developed with input from over 100 organizations and individuals with deep knowledge about public access technology and the diverse information needs of communities. IMLS and its partners are currently seeking public input on the framework.
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit www.imls.gov.
WebJunction promotes learning for all library staff by providing open, affordable online learning communities. Members access resources, attend programs, take courses, share knowledge and network with others—all in an environment that fosters collaboration and mutual support. Founded in 2003 and based in Seattle, Washington, and Dublin, Ohio, WebJunction is supported in part by OCLC, grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute for Museum and Library Services, partners in library service agencies, and the library community.
Founded in 1967, OCLC is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing library costs. More than 72,000 libraries in 170 countries have used OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalog, lend, preserve and manage library materials. Researchers, students, faculty, scholars, professional librarians and other information seekers use OCLC services to obtain bibliographic, abstract and full-text information when and where they need it. OCLC and its member libraries cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat, the world's largest online database for discovery of library resources. Search WorldCat on the Web at www.worldcat.org. For more information, visit www.oclc.org.