November 4, 2011


IMLS Press Contacts
Kevin O'Connell,
Mamie Bittner,

Washington, DCThe Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded a grant of $249,871 to OCLC’s WebJunction for a project aimed at helping communities across the country get started on the path to digital inclusion. The project will complement IMLS’s efforts to help libraries and other community-based organizations (CBOs) make strategic decisions about providing public access to broadband.

Working with its partners, TechSoup Global, and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), OCLC’s WebJunction will evaluate the needs of libraries, CBOs, and city and county managers seeking to get started with digital inclusion. Based on these findings, the partners will create and test a summit agenda for local community gatherings to develop a shared understanding about digital inclusion and begin to create an action plan. The partners will make improvements to the agenda based on the test results and select a limited number of sites to participate in an in-person summit. Participating sites will identify teams of library representatives, city or county managers, and CBO representatives to participate in the program. Each team will develop and host at least one digital inclusion activity in its local community. The partners will also provide resources online at WebJunction, TechSoup Global, and ICMA’s Knowledge Network. In addition, partners will evaluate and publish outcomes, and jointly report to IMLS on project effectiveness and lessons learned.

The National Broadband Plan released by the Federal Communications Commission in March 2010 noted that "absent action, the individual and societal costs of digital exclusion would continue to grow." The Plan recommended that IMLS provide leadership to libraries and CBOs as they improve digital adoption and use. In response, and in partnership with the University of Washington and the International City/County Management Association, IMLS has proposed a Framework for Digitally Inclusive Communities. The framework was developed with input from over one hundred organizations and individuals with deep knowledge about public access technology and the diverse information needs of communities. IMLS and its partners are currently seeking public input on 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