April 7, 2014


Press Contact
Adrienne Lee, alee@susandavis.com

Institute of Museum and Library Services to Hold Public Hearing

FCC Chairman Thomas Wheeler will launch a discussion of libraries and broadband

WHAT: The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) will hold a public hearing, “Libraries and Broadband: Urgency and Impact,” to examine the need for high-speed broadband in America’s libraries.

The hearing, which will take place during National Library Week (April 13-19, 2014), will explore ideas for streamlining and increasing the efficiency of the E-rate program and the potential of library programs, leveraging high-speed connections, to drive education, community and economic development.

IMLS advises the President and Congress about the library, museum, and information service needs of the American public. This hearing will establish a public record on the need for and impact of high-speed broadband connectivity in the nation’s libraries. It will help inform policy discussions and strategies to support broadband in the nation’s libraries.

The hearing will be webcast and will consist of three panels:

  • The Vision: What happens when we get it right? This panel will explore innovative practices and partnerships and new strategies that have the potential to serve individuals and communities well.
  • The Data: Panelists will explore what we know about broadband connections and services in America’s libraries. What are the metrics that we need to assess whether sufficient connectivity is in place? What are the metrics that can be used to assess success?
  • Moving Forward: During this section, we will explore solutions for sufficient connectivity in libraries.



  • Susan H. Hildreth, Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • Thomas Wheeler, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
  • Reed Hundt, former Federal Communications Commission Chairman


  • Clarence Anthony, Executive Director, National League of Cities
  • Larra Clark, Director of the Program on Networks, Associate Director of Program on America’s Libraries for the 21st Century, American Library Association
  • Eric Frederick, Executive Director, Connect Michigan
  • John B. Horrigan, Ph.D., independent communications and technology policy consultant
  • Miriam Jorgensen, M.P.P., Ph.D., Research Director, Native Nations Institute, The University of Arizona and Research Director, Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development
  • Chris Jowaisas, Senior Program Officer, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Linda Lord, Maine State Librarian
  • Dionne Mack, Director, El Paso Public Library
  • Gary Wasdin, Executive Director, Omaha Public Library System       

WHERE: Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
901 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 727-0321

Media RSVP to Adrienne Lee at (202) 414-0788 or alee@susandavis.com
Public RSVP to events@imls.gov

Webcast available on YouTube and Google+.

WHEN: Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. – noon EDT

WHY: For the nation’s 123,000 school, public, research and academic libraries and the millions of Americans that they serve, it is vital that libraries have the high-speed internet connections the public demands for educational, cultural, health, and workforce information and services. Presidential initiatives like Connect-Ed and the FCC Chairman’s call for modernization of the E-rate program have put a spotlight on the urgent need to equip schools and libraries with high-speed broadband connections.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has primary responsibility for the development and implementation of policy to ensure the availability of museum, library, and information services adequate to meet the essential information, education, research, economic, cultural, and civic needs of the people of the United States. 

The public is invited to provide comments for the record. Comments received by Monday, April 24, will be published on the agency’s website. Send comments to comments@imls.gov

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. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.