March 19, 2014


IMLS Press Contact
Giuliana Bullard

Institute of Museum and Library Services to Hold Public Hearing

“Libraries and Broadband:  Urgency and Impact”

Washington, DC—The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced today that it is holding a public hearing, “Libraries and Broadband: Urgency and Impact,” to examine the need for high-speed broadband in America’s libraries. The hearing will take place on April 17, 2014 from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library, 901 G St. NW, Washington, DC 20001. The hearing will be webcast. Details about accessing the webcast will be announced shortly.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is charged with advising the President and Congress about the library, museum, and information service needs of the American public. The agency is conducting this public hearing to establish a public record on the need for and impact of high-speed broadband connectivity in America’s libraries.

IMLS Director Susan H. Hildreth will chair the hearing along with members of the National Museum Services Board including, Christie Pearson Brandau of Iowa, Charles Benton of Illinois, Winston Tabb of Maryland, and Carla Hayden also of Maryland.

Hildreth remarked, “This is an opportunity to showcase ideas for streamlining and increasing the efficiency of the E-rate program. We want to hear about how high-speed connections in libraries coupled with library-developed programs and services can be a catalyst for learning and community and economic development.”

The hearing will consist of three panels:

  • The Vision: What happens when we get it right? This panel will explore innovative practices and partnerships as well as potential solutions that can serve individuals and communities well.
  • The Data: This panel 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?
  • The Stakes: What’s at risk? This panel will explore what is at risk when libraries lack sufficient connectivity.

Submit comments to Comments received by May 1, 2014 will be included in the record. Each comment must include the author’s name and organizational affiliation, if any.

The hearing is open to the public, subject to space availability. Please RSVP to

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 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.