As well-respected civic institutions and trusted technology hubs, public libraries play a vital role in breaking down barriers to equitable digital opportunities and experiences. The digital divide continues to exist, and it drives a wedge between those with means, access to broadband, technologies and literacy skills and those without. Millions of people in North America do not have access to tele-healthcare, employment, education, economic opportunities, social services and more. Libraries are uniquely positioned to assist with making equitable change in the digital ecosystem affording people and the communities in which they live.
Digital Equity Toolkit
The Digital Equity Toolkit is being developed by the Digital Equity Action Team to outline resources that are a useful starting point in this work. Resources will be monitored and updated frequently, as the digital equity space is ever-evolving. For questions, please contact ULC's Director of Racial Equity and Community Impact Michelle Hamiel.
The following resources are recommended for development of leadership advocacy. These include example Strategic Plans, staff training, commitment statements and job descriptions.DIVE DEEPERReadReadReadReadLearn
In order to advance digital equity, libraries will find success in partnerships. The below resources are examples of digital equity partners that can positively affect digital equity work.DIVE DEEPERExploreExploreExploreLearn
The below are examples of offerings and programs from ULC member libraries that work towards building digital equity.DIVE DEEPERExploreExploreExploreExploreExploreReadDIVE DEEPERReadReadReadExplore©2023 Urban Libraries Council
Digital Equity in the News
FEB. 13, 2023: Baltimore County Public Library is Leading the Way on ACP Adoption
The Baltimore County Public Library is one of several trusted institutions nationwide working to address this barrier [of home internet adoption] and get local residents online.
JAN. 19, 2023: FCC Proposes $62 Million Fine, SCOTUS Urged to Keep Section 230, TikTok Bans Extending
In Emergency Broadband Benefit case, Q Link claimed excessive market value of devices, the FCC said.
JAN. 11, 2023: A $7.9 million partnership to accelerate broadband access in Appalachia
We are partnering with the Appalachian Regional Commission to fund broadband plans in 50 underserved communities.
Source: Connect Humanity
Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP): The Affordable Connectivity Program is an FCC benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more.
EducationSuperHighway: EducationSuperHighway’s mission is to close the digital divide for the 18 million households that have access to the Internet but can’t afford to connect. They focus on America’s most unconnected communities, where more than 25% of people don’t have Internet.
Federal Communication Commission (FCC): The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.
National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA): NDIA combines grassroots community engagement with technical knowledge, research, and coalition building to advocate on behalf of people working in their communities for digital equity.
Schools, Health, & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB): SHLB is one of the leading national champions for open, affordable broadband for community anchor institutions. SHLB participates regularly in proceedings before the FCC, Capitol Hill, and Executive Branch.