Obama missed libraries in ConnectED speech says ALA

Mr. President: Where Have Libraries Gone? asks Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the American Library Association Washington office – who was in the audience at Obama’s speech on ConnectEd.

While the president spoke passionately about federal support for high-speed broadband in education, Sheketoff notes “I was disappointed to find libraries conspicuously absent in President Obama’s vision of connecting our students to world-class learning.”

Sheketoff points out that 94 percent of parents agree libraries are important, according to a Pew Internet poll. And for some people they are extremely important. “Sixty-two percent of libraries report they provide the only free access to computers and the internet in their communities—for rural areas, this percentage climbs to 70 percent,” she says.

As far as federal support for broadband, “ConnectED must include professional development and support for school librarians, in addition to broadband access and devices, to ensure students have the digital literacy and research skills necessary to effectively use those devices.”

Speed Matters agrees. Libraries are an integral part of public access to high-speed Internet.

Mr. President: Where Have Libraries Gone? (American Library Association, Feb. 4, 2014)

Remarks by the President on ConnectED (White House, Feb. 4, 2014)

Parents, Children, Libraries, and Reading (Pew Internet & American Life Project, May 1, 2013)