Library people: get the upper hand on your tech! The free Toward Gigabit Libraries toolkit is out and ready to help you!

The free Toward Gigabit Libraries toolkit is an open-source technology learning, diagnostic, and advocacy tool designed for public and tribal libraries in the US. The toolkit will guide you through a series of questions about your technology environment — and provide you with all the information you need to answer the questions.

The toolkit is an excellent way to diagnose and fix library technology problems. Some libraries have found it especially useful in preparing for E-rate requests, budget cycles, and even in helping open up lines of communication between library staff and tech workers.

Best of all, you do not need to be a “techie” to use the toolkit. Fifty-eight rural and tribal libraries piloted the toolkit in the US to ensure that it is as simple as possible to use. In the spring of 2017 five Nebraska Community Libraries, Atkinson, Gering, Valley, Walthill, and Wymore, were the very first libraries to pilot the toolkit.

The Toward Gigabit Libraries toolkit is free and open source, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. As well as being a stand-alone resource, you are free to use anything from the toolkit and mix it into other documents.

This resource is designed to empower practitioners to become more savvy and effective consumers, advocates, and providers of high-quality Internet access and digital services to their communities. Funded by an Institute of Museum and Libary Services Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant, the toolkit is designed to scale nationally to all libraries, regardless of size or geographic location.

The Library Commission plans to offer an NCompass Live Session early next year to highlight features of the toolkit.

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