The American Library Association (ALA) started an annual tradition of inviting librarians to Washington, DC, for a two-day fly-in of strategic training and meetings with their members of Congress. On February 17, 2020, Francella Ochillo, Next Century Cities’ Executive Director, provided the keynote address at their training conference.

The policy arm of ALA vigorously advocates for Federal funding for libraries. For families on the wrong side of the digital divide, the public library is often the primary access point for broadband access and digital literacy training. There, individuals who do not have high-speed connectivity at home can complete homework assignments, find information, or even participate in the online census data collection.

At 150 years old, ALA and their battalion of librarians are on the front lines of serving communities in need. They are trusted resources and share Next Century Cities’ commitment to expand broadband for populations that are starving for digital opportunities.