State of the Union
Contact: Phyllis Jordan
Statement from the Urban Libraries Council on the State of the Union
January 30, 2014 (District of Columbia) - Susan Benton, President and CEO of the Urban Libraries Council, applauded President Obama's commitment in the State of the Union address to connect students to the Internet. But she called for additional investment in public libraries, which provide connections not just to students but to millions of American without broadband access.
"I am delighted that President Obama is committed to connecting America's students to the Internet, and it is important to remember that these connections often come at libraries, as well as schools. Libraries across the United States, report their busiest hours are between 3:00 and 6:00 pm on weekdays, when students rely on library computers for homework. Further, library resources including Internet access, are heavily used throughout the summer to support kids' continuous learning.
Libraries are the nation's No. 1 source of Internet access providing computers and WiFi for millions of residents. In many urban and rural areas, the library is the only place for individuals and families to connect to the Internet.
Nationwide, an estimated 100 million Americans have no broadband access, and many of these individuals are in our most disadvantaged neighborhoods. For them, the library is a lifeline. To productively participate in today's economy, we depend on computers and Internet access to apply for jobs, submit college applications, complete GEDs and take online classes."