Monday September 13, 2010
Funds to be Used to Increase Computer Access Technology Project Funded by Recovery Act Grant and Library Foundation Match
The Louisville Free Public Library will soon offer expanded access to technology and the Internet as the result of $1.2 million in grants, part of which come from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) as announced today by Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) and Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson.
“This Recovery Act investment will help Louisvillians who are unemployed, underemployed, or looking to change careers by connecting them with vital job-hunting resources at their neighborhood library,” said Congressman Yarmuth. “It’s critical that we leave no one behind during our economic recovery, and this funding will help ensure these valuable services are publicly available to help more people than ever before.”
The funding will be used to expand the number of public computers in local libraries, to provide true high-speed broadband Internet access to all 18 library locations, and to offer new and expanded job training and educational resources to the residents of Metro Louisville.
“This is yet another exciting opportunity for our library to reach out into the community and serve all of our residents in a significant way,” said Mayor Jerry Abramson. “These services can make a difference in people having access to continuing education, government assistance and a fruitful job search.”
The BTOP grant from the federal Department of Commerce and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will allow for computer center expansion at locations with the greatest need for additional resources. It also creates four new specialized service centers at three other library locations in the community, including a new Job Shop dedicated to job skills technology and employment services, two new innovative centers for library services to teens, and one family computing center.
“More than 3700 patrons use one of the library’s 524 public computers on a given day,” said Library Director Craig Buthod. “This grant will increase the number of public computers by 24%, allowing access for nearly 6,000 additional users per week. More computers, coupled with increased Internet connection speed, helps facilitate learning opportunities throughout the library for virtually every patron. And the new Job Shop expansion at the Main Library, addition of two Teen Centers, a second Job Shop in southwestern Jefferson County, and a Family Computing Center will expand training and educational services to those people who need it most.”
The total cost of the project is $1,230,806. A portion of those funds will be matched by the Library Foundation as part of the federally required matching funds for the BTOP grant.
“The Library Foundation is pleased to be able to play a part in the library’s receiving the BTOP grant,” said Library Foundation Chairman Paul Thompson. “By stepping up to provide matching funds for the project, the Foundation is advancing its mission of enhancing the programs and services of the Louisville Free Public Library. Supporting the library’s efforts to provide technology to its patrons has long been a priority of the Library Foundation, and we congratulate the library on being awarded this important grant.”
LFPL has been offering computer access to library patrons since 1997. In 1999, Computer Learning Centers at 4 locations were opened to provide classroom space for teaching courses in basic computer literacy. In the decade since, the number of public computers has increased dramatically, from fewer than 100 to 524. The technology initiatives of the library have been made possible through support from the Library Foundation, which provided funding to build the network and since then, to develop important new services.
Public Computing Centers Grant Fact Sheet
The Louisville Free Public Library has been awarded a Public Computing Centers grant, part of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The funding for this highly competitive grant program was established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“the stimulus bill”).
The BTOP grant funding is $743,741 to be spent over three years and requires a minimum 20% community match. The Library Foundation is committed to providing matching funds totaling $382,065. Louisville Metro will provide $105,000 in previously approved operating funds.
The BTOP grant will allow LFPL to offer expanded access to technology and the Internet by increasing the number of public computers at libraries, providing true high-speed broadband Internet access to all 18 library locations and offering new and expanded job training and educational resources to all residents.
Library patrons can expect to experience faster Internet connections at all libraries, new and expanded training and educational programs dedicated to job search skills and technology usage, and shorter and fewer waits for computers as capacity expands by more than 5,700 user sessions per week.
The technology access project also includes two new or enhanced teen centers for library services at the Bon Air and Main Library, a family computing center at Bon Air and a new Job Shop at the Southwest Library.
The grant will pay for:
- 124 desktop computers (including furniture for these computers)
- 13 mini-laptop computers
- Software and installation for 137 computers
- Network, firewall and filtering servers
- Wiring and cabling at the branches receiving the new computers
- Remodeling at Bon Air to create the Teen Computing Center
- Remodeling at Southwest to create the Job Shop
- Internet bandwidth upgrade at all 18 library locations
- Training materials for public computing classes
- Library staff training to help the public
- Three training librarians to teach the public and support job search activities and teen computer use. Salaries and benefits are covered for three years.
The project, which is funded for three years, is scheduled to begin immediately with all new computers being installed in the next 12-14 months and public training programs and bandwidth expansion beginning this fall.