Librarians Ensure That Underserved Communities Stay Connected

Next Century Cities (NCC) and the New York Library Association (NYLA) have a shared goal. Both work to ensure that every resident in a community has reliable broadband access. 

NCC supports broadband expansion efforts by city leaders, advocating for policies that promote affordable high-speed connectivity. Librarians serve as digital stewards for the underserved, helping to connect students who need to complete homework assignments and adults who are learning to set-up email accounts or draft resumes for the first time. In the state of New York alone, more than two million residents, including over 20% of low-income households, rely on the public library as their primary source for broadband. 

On November 14, 2019, Next Century Cities’ Executive Director, Francella Ochillo, presented a workshop at NYLA’s annual conference on how librarians could help expand broadband access for easily forgotten communities. She explained why librarians are uniquely positioned to advocate for unserved and underserved populations before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Additionally, Francella shared examples of library initiatives that are helping to ensure that disconnected populations can participate in an online census data collection.

Aside from being a trusted resource in their communities, librarians have been indispensable allies that work support digital access and literacy initiatives nationwide. Next Century Cities is fortunate to collaborate with advocates who are so passionate about their work.

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