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Jim Lynch's blog

E-Rate for the 21st Century: More Funding for Library Wi-Fi

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The Digital DivideFor the last 17 years, the E-rate program has helped provide schools and libraries across the U.S. with subsidized Internet service.

With almost one-third of Americans still not connected to the Internet, there has been consistent demand for increased E-rate funding. For example, TechSoup's donor partner, Mobile Beacon, has an infographic on its homepage showing that nearly 50 percent of U.S. libraries still lack sufficient Internet access to meet their patrons' needs.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) responded this July with an E-rate modernization plan to increase funding to libraries and schools for high-capacity Wi-Fi and broadband.

Why Public Libraries Are Better Than Amazon

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Smartphone with bookshelf-e-book library concept.Shutterstock

Librarians and patrons know that public libraries have been quietly developing excellent collections of e-books. But free library e-books got a big publicity splash recently when The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) personal technology writer, Geoffrey Fowler, did a comparison of Amazon's $10 per month Kindle Unlimited service and his local library's free e-book lending.

Fowler's WSJ piece is called Why the Public Library Beats Amazon — for Now. Guess what his conclusion is?

Mobile Hotspot Lending Finally Gets National Press

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TechSoup for Libraries has been covering how lending out mobile hotspots can provide home broadband to low-income patrons for some time now.

This trend just got national attention when the New York and Chicago Public Libraries got big Knight Foundation grants to try out hotspot lending.

Library In A Box: How Worthington Brings Library Services Anywhere

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Move over bookmobiles, there’s a new way to get library services out into the community. I’m calling it a “library in a box”. It was devised by Susan Allen at Worthington Libraries in Ohio. It's not very expensive, and I think it's a genius idea.

It’s not news that libraries have ample digital collections of eBooks, magazines and academic journals, music and much more. Imagine being able to show people all the resources your library can offer, wherever people happen to be hanging out.

Leaner Library Loaner Laptops: Tips from the Pro

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After the Zion-Benton Illinois Library had some of their expensive laptops stolen and broken, they didn't give up on loaning out laptops to patrons. Instead, they decided to try using sturdier, but less expensive refurbished laptops. Here's how they did it.

The Internet Archive: The Digital Library of Alexandria?

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The fabled ancient library of Alexandria was one of the great achievements in human history. Its mission was to compile all knowledge in one place. Its greatest fame came when it burned 2,000 years ago.

Refurbished Computers Are Gaining Traction in Maine Libraries

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Information Technology Exchange (ITE), a charity in Belfast, Maine (near Bangor) operates the PCs for Maine program, which provides refurbished computers to schools, nonprofits, and libraries for use as public access stations. What is unusual is not that this low-cost equipment is available to Maine libraries, but that it is becoming popular. How did this happen?

Doing A Quick Tech Plan

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Many libraries have part time or accidental techies taking care of their technology. Is it any wonder that proper technology planning is something we have a hard time getting to? The problem is that it takes some tech planning to come up with a budget for the New Year. Here’s some resources for doing quick tech planning so you’ll have some money to work with in 2014.

Loaning Out Internet Access at the Providence Community Library

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Libraries offering free Internet access is nothing new. But the Providence Community Library (RI) is taking an innovative leap by allowing patrons to literally check out free home Internet access for a week.

How does Providence do it? They loan out Mobile Beacon hotspot devices.

Kansas City Library’s New Software Lending Library

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Inspired by the coming of ultra-fast gigabit broadband Internet to their city this year, the Kansas City Public Library has devised something new for public access computing – lending software over the Internet.

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