One of the unsung services provided by our Washington State Library is its assistance to local libraries, especially in rural communities.
The most recent example is the new high-speed broadband Internet connection at the Deming Library, east of Bellingham. The Deming Library is the first of the 101 public libraries and three tribal libraries to be connected thanks to broadband stimulus funding. The stimulus funding came through the U.S. Department of Commerce. The State Library was part of a joint effort to bring broadband to the Deming Library. Others involved include Northwest Open Access Network (NoaNet), Black Rock Cable and the Whatcom County Library System, of which Deming is part. NoaNet successfully applied for a stimulus funding grant.
The State Library has worked with NoaNet to ensure that public libraries were included in the latter’s efforts. The result? More than 100 mostly rural libraries and three tribal libraries in Washington will receive high-speed broadband capacity in the next two years.
“Many small, rural libraries throughout Washington don’t have high-speed Internet yet, and the State Library has worked hard with other parties to address this shortcoming,” says Acting State Librarian Rand Simmons (pictured above), who spoke at a recent event at the Deming Library celebrating the new Internet service. “Deming is just the latest example of a small library that now can provide its customers with faster, better online access. The State Library continues to help small, rural libraries acquire high-speed broadband access because we realize what a major difference it can be for the communities they serve.”