As access to high speed internet continues to be a growing need people across the country, public libraries are stepping up to fill that need by providing computer sharing with a national pilot program, Libraries Super Wi-Fi Pilot.
Four Kansas libraries are lead libraries for the Kansas portion of that pilot program. They will take part in a four-month long test of TV White Space technology, a system that will deliver public library internet access to remote locations. They will use open and unlicensed radio spectrum to deliver the service.
Delivering public library internet access to remote areas
The Kansas pilot will operate through the State Library of Kansas and will be called the Kansas K20-Librarians White Space Pilot.
While retaining the public library internet focus, this pilot will build and grow by leveraging the resources that all types of libraries have to share, starting with technical knowledge, insight, and understanding what users want and need. Working together will find more concrete arenas for sharing.
Libraries are already discussing creative ideas for collaborating such as co-location of equipment at non-public library sites to take advantage of geography or topology; working together to maximize the value of surplus connectivity; networking with policy makers at local, regional and state levels to rethink how Wi-Fi access is built out; and exploring opportunities for negotiating group purchase of equipment and/or discounted pricing.
The four lead libraries for the initial phase of the pilot will be Kansas City, Ks. Public Library, Lawrence Public Library, Manhattan Public Library, and Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library.
"Broadband connectivity is important to all Kansas communities for economic development and to all Kansas residents for lifelong learning and professional development," said State Librarian Jo Budler. "Librarians understand this and are pleased to be part of a pilot which may demonstrate an alternative for providing wireless connectivity to library users."
For more information, visit the Kansas State Library website.