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The Institute of Museum and Library Services, the University of Washington, and the International City/County Management Association to Develop a Framework for Digitally Inclusive Communities

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


IMLS Press Contacts
Mamie Bittner,

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced today that it is awarding a $150,000 cooperative agreement to the University of Washington in partnership with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) to develop a framework for digitally inclusive communities.

"Public access to high-speed internet is becoming essential to meet the workforce development, education, civic engagement, government services, and health information needs of communities. And people increasingly depend upon libraries and community-based organizations to provide that access," said Marsha L. Semmel, IMLS Acting Director. "The framework for digitally inclusive communities will help policymakers and practitioners make decisions that enhance their communities’ social and economic well-being."

The agreement is part of the agency’s effort to address the recommendations of the National Broadband Plan released in March 2010, which presented a vision of pervasive and affordable broadband for every American. Recommendation 9.3 of the plan calls on IMLS to "develop guidelines for public access technology based on populations served and organization size. These guidelines would help libraries and community-based organizations assess their needs for public access workstations, portable devices, and bandwidth. IMLS should work with these organizations to develop guidelines and review them annually to reflect changing technology and practices."

The framework, which will identify the principles, elements, and characteristics of organizations and communities that foster digital inclusion, is intended to be a first step in the future development of benchmarks and community-level guidelines. Representatives of libraries, community-based organizations, business, local government, and non-governmental organizations will be engaged in the development and use their knowledge of the needs and complexities of local communities to ensure the applicability of 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