FCC Chairman Speaks at Library of Congress

DigLearningDay300pxYesterday, February 5, 2014, was National Digital Learning Day, which included an event at the Library of Congress. You will be interested in comments about libraries made by Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Here are some excerpts from his speech.

“During my tenure as Chairman of the FCC there may be no bigger and more significant issue than making sure our schools and libraries are connected to high-speed broadband networks. That is why E-Rate modernization is at the top of my agenda and why I support President Obama’s goal of connecting 99 percent of all students to high-speed broadband capacity in five years – or faster.”

“While we talk a lot about the connected school, we cannot overemphasize the crucial role of the connected library. Public libraries have been part of the fabric of America since our country’s founding. Thomas Jefferson, whose personal library was the founding collection of this great institution, described a library as, “a delivery room for the birth of ideas.” Today libraries are also something Mr. Jefferson could never have imagined: the community on-ramp to the world of information (although perhaps I misspeak, he was after all Thomas Jefferson!).

In community after community the library is the only place where students can go after school for free Internet access to complete their assignments. Research has found that a majority of American school children go to the public library to do school work. And for many of those students, it is the only link to the Net outside of school. That is really important when over 75% of K-12 teachers are assigning Internet-required homework. And during the summer, libraries are the only place for many students to go to continue their online exploration and learning. Libraries are also the only place where tens of millions of adult Americans can get access to the Internet for information on jobs, health care and government services.

The E-Rate is a program for schools and libraries. Or, let me put it another way: libraries and schools.”

You can read his complete presentation at http://fcc.us/1b36Aic.

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