With Huge Demand for Computer Centers, ALA Asks Feds To Reallocate Stimulus Funds
First round of requests totaled $2 billion, but there's only $200 million in the pot right now
Norman Oder -- Library Journal, 12/29/2009
- ALA joined by ARL, community colleges
- Money could be reallocated from mapping project
- Increase would serve public access, broader economic goals
Given the huge demand for the Public Computer Centers (PCC) program in the broadband segment of the federal stimulus package, the American Library Association (ALA) and nine others are asking for a significant boost in funding, which can be accomplished by shifting other broadband funding.
In a letter to Assistant Secretary of Commerce Larry Strickling, the groups noted that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) pledged to make $50 million available for the PCC program in the first round of funding, but applicants requested nearly $2 billion. (Here’s a report on some of the first awards.)
While the stimulus statute allots a minimum of $200 million for such PCCs, the NTIA can reallocate some funding from the Broadband Mapping program, and it doesn’t look like all $350 million allotted for mapping will be needed, the letter stated.
Greater funding for the PCC program would not only allow public libraries and community colleges to expand computer and Internet access for the general public, said the letter, but encourage the purchase of computer hardware, create jobs, and promote residential broadband adoption—a broad set of goals.
Among the signatories were representatives of the American Association of Community Colleges and the Association of Research Libraries.