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December 25, 2010
Library Board discusses OK Connect

Derrick Miller - The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — A statewide effort to increase Internet speed and accessibility could help library patrons improve in several of the state’s lowest ranked areas.

During Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Duncan Public Library Board, Library Director Jan Cole talked about the OkConnect program, which bring high speed capabilities to the library and will increase the speed of the library’s Internet connection. This will also help the library get high speed video conferencing capabilities by 2012, which will be library patrons access to special software.

“It will connect rural Oklahomans,” Cole said. “They will run more fibers to those areas.”

She said the Internet would be faster and would better serve people in rural communities.

Cole said OkConnect has four pillars of focus. Those pillars include education, health, employment and e-government.

“We’re just trying to improve the quality of life for Oklahomans,” Cole said.

She said these were the areas chosen for focus by the program because Oklahoma is low ranked in all of the areas. Cole said the state is working to improve its ratings in the four areas.

“One of the goals is to make Oklahoma into a state where there’s more people with bachelor’s degrees or higher,” Cole said.

She said some of the ratings surprised her.

“Health was one of the most startling statistics for me. Oklahoma is one of the poorest health states.”

Cole said another pillar to focus on employment will help people with career building and will offer help on résumé assistance.

She said there is also a needed focus on e-goverment because many forms are available largely online. By speeding up the Internet access, people will have an easier time getting the forms they need downloaded.

“It’s part of a federal stimulus program that’s actually working,” Cole said.

— Derrick Miller is a reporter for The Duncan Banner. He can be reached at 580-255-5354, Ext. 144, or via e-mail at derrick.miller@duncanbanner.com.

 

December 20, 2010
High speed Internet coming to Sallisaw Library

Internet users at Stanley Tubbs Memorial Library in Sallisaw will see a dramatic increase in access speed as early as next year thanks to a national grant project, Susan McVey, Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) director, said.

The high-speed broadband capabilities will increase the library’s Internet connection speed from 1.5 megabytes per second to 50 megabytes per second.

On top of that, the library will have high speed video conferencing capabilities by 2012, and library users will have access to special learning and career software to help students with homework, and assist job seekers with résumé creation, interviewing skills and job testing, McVey said.

ODL will also facilitate training for the Sallisaw library staff, and assist with the library’s annual federal E-Rate application to secure discounts for ongoing telecommunications services.

Bethia Owens, county librarian, and the members of the Eastern Oklahoma District Library System (EODLS) attended a project launch event in Oklahoma City last week to learn more about Oklahoma’s public library broadband program, OkConnect.

Participants heard presentations from state officials and national partners, networked with other participating libraries, and brainstormed ideas on how OkConnect can make a difference in the lives of citizens, McVey said.

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries received the major grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) last July to upgrade broadband and computing capabilities at 44 public libraries around the state, McVey said.

NTIA awarded the state $2.3 million through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress in 2009. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing matching funds and in kind services worth $1million, bringing the total to $3.3 million to implement the improvements in Oklahoma, McVey said.

“We were thrilled to receive the grant. High speed access and new equipment will open up a host of educational and economic opportunities for these communities, and provide easier access to health and government information,” McVey said.

OkConnect project director Vicki Mohr said the libraries and their communities are ready to embrace this technology.

“The libraries see it as a major advantage in terms of educational offerings and economic development,” Mohr said.

“With this equipment, small businesses could communicate globally with their partners, conduct online interviews with potential employees, and attend training sessions without having to leave town. Local citizens could sign-up for online college courses. It can be a boon for distance education in these communities,” Mohr said.

McVey said Oklahoma’s successful grant application would not have been possible without the assistance of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Their partnership with ODL made all the difference,” she said.

Jill Nishi, deputy director of the Gates Foundation’s U.S. Libraries program, said federal investments in connecting libraries to high-quality Internet service and technology are critical to realizing the universal broadband access America needs.

“When libraries provide broadband to communities, they can deliver valuable online opportunities that help people find jobs, further their education, and access important government information,” Nishi said. “We hope that this award will help public and private funders to understand the importance of investing in public technology access at Oklahoma’s libraries.”
In addition to the 44 public library sites, other key partners in OkConnect include the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Hearts for Hearing, local city governments, and library friends groups.

Five other EODLS libraries—in Eufaula, Grove, Muskogee, Tahlequah and Westville—are also receiving high-speed broadband Internet and video conferencing capabilities through the grant.

December 18, 2010
Oklahoma Department of Libraries

Friends--
Many of you have asked for copies of the OkConnect Project Launch Video
that was shown on December 9 in Oklahoma City. We are making copies of
the video on CD to distribute to you by year's end or early next year;
but in the meantime, you can view the video on YouTube at:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbBi9EWRG_w

You can also find the video by searching "OkConnect Project Launch" or
"Oklahoma Libraries BTOP" or something similar on YouTube.

Also, let me know if you have been successful in getting the news out to
your community via the press release, or if you need any other
assistance. I know a couple of you have expressed an interest in
releasing the news after the New Year to avoid it getting lost in all of
the Christmas hubbub. Whatever you decide, please keep us posted, and
give us a ring if we can help.

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

--by

William R. Young
Public Information Officer
Oklahoma Department of Libraries
200 N.E. 18th Street
Oklahoma City, OK  73105
w: 405-522-3562
c: 405-370-3750

December 17, 2010
High-speed Internet coming to Durant’s Public Library

Internet users at the Robert L. Williams Public Library will see a dramatic increase in access speed as early as next year thanks to a national grant project. High speed broadband capabilities will increase the library’s Internet connection speed from 1.5 megabytes per second to 100 mbps.

On top of that, the library will have high speed video conferencing capabilities by 2012, and library users will have access to special learning and career software to help students with homework, and assist job seekers with résumé creation, interviewing skills and job testing.

Representatives from the library and the Durant community attended a project launch event in Oklahoma City last week to learn more about Oklahoma’s public library broadband program, OkConnect.

Participants heard presentations from state officials and national partners, networked with other participating libraries, and brainstormed ideas on how OkConnect can make a difference in the lives of citizens.

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) received the major grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration last July to upgrade broadband and computing capabilities at 44 public libraries around the state.

NTIA awarded the state $2.3 million through the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by Congress in 2009. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing matching funds and in kind services worth $1million, bringing the total to $3.3 million to implement the improvements in Oklahoma.

“We were thrilled to receive the grant,” ODL Director Susan McVey said. “High speed access and new equipment will open up a host of educational and economic opportunities for these communities, and provide easier access to health and government information.”

OkConnect project director Vicki Mohr said the libraries and their communities are ready to embrace this technology.

“The libraries see it as a major advantage in terms of educational offerings and economic development,” Mohr said. “With this equipment, small businesses could communicate globally with their partners, conduct online interviews with potential employees, and attend training sessions without having to leave town. Local citizens could sign-up for online college courses. It can be a boon for distance education in these communities.”

McVey said Oklahoma’s successful grant application would not have been possible without the assistance of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “Their partnership with ODL made all the difference,” she said.

Jill Nishi, deputy director of the Gates Foundation’s U.S. Libraries program, said federal investments in connecting libraries to high-quality Internet service and technology are critical to realizing the universal broadband access America needs.

“When libraries provide broadband to communities, they can deliver valuable online opportunities that help people find jobs, further their education, and access important government information,” Nishi said. “ We hope that this award will help public and private funders to understand the importance of investing in public technology access at Oklahoma’s libraries.”

In addition to the 44 public library sites, other key partners in OkConnect include the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Hearts for Hearing, local city governments, and library friends groups.

ODL will also facilitate training for the Durant library staff, and assist with the library’s annual federal E-Rate application to secure discounts for ongoing telecommunications services.
© durantdemocrat.com 2010