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An important goal of Inclusive Gigabit Libraries was to convene library and broadband leaders in a series of national continuing education forums about the U.S. Ignite initiative to address how libraries can leverage high-speed networks to benefit communities. We provided 10 leadership forums and reached approximately 1,500 library leaders. The forums consisted of presentations of compelling case studies and strategies for libraries to deliver services and generate knowledge using high-speed connectivity.

The forums helped library leaders and other stakeholders learn and strategize about how to leverage high-speed broadband networks to create public value in a fast-changing globally networked environment. In addition, library leaders need to understand how best to implement and manage high-speed broadband networks. Library leaders face uncertainty and these new developments raise many questions about the future of libraries. What are the most effective approaches for libraries to provide virtual and public spaces that engage with and transform a sustainable high-speed network infrastructure? How should library leaders educate their staff, boards, and legislative bodies about the next generation of networks and what the high-speed broadband means to service models with greater use of digital resources? How should library leaders develop strategic plans to leverage high-speed broadband networks as the infrastructure for Internet-enabled service delivery plans? How should library leaders address the challenges to develop digital applications and services that are adopted and used regularly by the public?

The continuing education forums:

  • Convened an audience of public library stakeholders representing all types of libraries, federal, state and local government, ISPs, technology sector, technology leaders, software developers, community anchor institutions, specialists in sustainable broadband adoption strategies, academia, consultants, and managers of public computer centers;
  • Featured case studies presented by library leaders who provided first-hand insight from their experiences with adopting and using next generation Internet networks currently under deployment in various cities across the US. The “live” case studies included:
    • Overview of US Ignite – Nicole Levine, Manager
    • Strategies for Connecting Public Libraries to Statewide Next Generation Middle-mile Networks – CENIC with Louis Fox, CEO;
    • Leadership Imperatives to Transform a Traditional Library to a Hub of Innovation – Chattanooga Public Library, Corinne Hill, Executive Director; and Nate Hill;
    • Organizational Change and New Service Models – Cuyahoga Public Library System, Sari Feldman, Executive Director; and Rebecca Ranallo;
    • The Video Mosaic Collaborative –Rutgers University Library, Grace Agnew.
  • Engaged the audience of library leaders from around the country with interactive sessions to generate new ideas and knowledge sharing. The interactive questions focused on understand what does it take to make a library “ready” to use a gigabit connection. What are the organizational, technological capabilities, governance, and user acceptance factors that shape when a library will be ready to use a gigabit connection? We facilitated the sessions to invite audience participation allowing local libraries to share their stories of expanding Internet connectivity and developing new programs and services;
  • Maximized reach by offering the forums in different time and delivery formats to maximize our reach. This included holding in-person meetings with simultaneous virtual sessions using Blackboard Collaborate, virtual only sessions, small group format, and conference sessions.

The forums conducted for these case studies are explored further in the Inclusive Gigabit Libraries Final Report.


Inclusive Gigabit Libraries: Learn, Discuss, and Brainstorm is a U.S Institute of Museum and Library Services, (IMLS)-grant funded continuing education project focused on libraries and their stakeholders to leverage emerging high-speed networks for social inclusion. Research for this project was conducted by the Center for Digital Inclusion at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois.

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