Over the next few months, you will be hearing and reading about broadband access to the Internet and the City of Fort Collins' initiative to explore community broadband for its residents. Broadband is a way to connect to the Internet from our homes and businesses and it provides faster access than original "dial-up." Next Generation Broadband is faster yet with speeds 10 to 100 times faster than current broadband services available today.
Most of us would be completely lost without the Internet. As our use of multiple devices such as tablets, smart phones, laptops and PCs increases we become more dependent on the Internet for communication, education, entertainment, work and government services. The need for affordable, high-quality access is central to our quality of life and economic vitality.
Most library applications such as signing up for a library card, placing a reserve on a book, downloading a digital recording or eBook or searching a database are done online. Effective delivery of library services, programs and collections to our customers is dependent on reliable, high-speed broadband and this need will only intensify in the future.
The City of Fort Collins already has ownership or rights to many miles of underground conduit and fiber that is used for City operations. The Library District is also connected to this network. You may wonder why the City cannot simply expand this network to the rest of the community.
A 2005 state law, SB- 152, limits local governments from competing with the private sector to provide broadband services including Wi-Fi services in public places or partnering with private broadband providers to provide services to residences or businesses. Voters, however, can exempt themselves from SB-152, allowing local governments to decide how to pursue and develop broadband connectivity to residents and businesses. Many cities and counties in Colorado have been successful in passing such measures including Boulder, Longmont and Estes Park.
On Tuesday, November 3, 2015 voters in Fort Collins will be asked to exempt the City from SB 152, allowing the City to research its options in 2016 for the provision of community broadband. Two informational sessions on Next Generation broadband, the need for community access, and successful approaches taken by other cities will be held at the Old Town Library on September 29th and at Harmony Library on October 13th. Both sessions are at 7:00 p.m. I will be co- presenting these sessions with Dr. Patrick Burns, Vice President for IT at Colorado State University. Both Dr. Burns and I are members of the City of Fort Collins Broadband Steering Committee and have been active in professional activities concerning networking and telecommunications.
The new school year may be right around the corner but there is still plenty of time to relax, read, and to discover new authors and books. On August 8, the Library District invites you to our Local Author Book Fair, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. at Old Town Library. The fair will feature readings, book signings and the opportunity to meet the many talented writers that live right here in our own community. Twenty percent of all book purchases will be donated to our support group, the Poudre River Friends of the Library.
On Thursday, August 13, 7 p.m. at Old Town Library, first time novelist, Val Brelinski, will make an appearance and discuss her debut novel, The Girl Who Slept with God. Ms. Brelinski is a recent Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and teaches creative writing at Stanford's Continuing Studies Program.
And while I'm writing about books, don't forget to drop in on one of the Library District's book clubs to help select titles for the coming year.
Exciting news for the little ones! The Library District has added some new items to our collection: T.A.L.E.S (Take Away Literacy Enhancement Skills) Kits are theme-based collections of books, props, music CDs and activities for parents and caregivers to help them introduce early literacy skills to their preschoolers. These are perfect for borrowing while you wait for regularly scheduled storytimes to resume in September.
And finally, comic books are now available for downloading from Hoopla! Check out the impressive list of graphic novels and comics to borrow for free!
October 20, 2014 -- The Poudre River Public Library District recently received three grants that will help us expand and evaluate services and programs that are conducted outside the Library by our Outreach Department.
First, the Library District is thrilled to be one of eight libraries in Colorado to receive a Library Services and Technology (LSTA) grant. These federally funded competitive grants are made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services www.imls.govand are administered by the Colorado State Library. Our grant project entitled "STREAMLab" will enable the Library District to formalize our partnership with the City of Fort Collins Recreation Department by establishing a makerspace in the Northside Aztlan Center.
STREAMLab programming (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math) will focus on the following staff-led activities: e-textiles, robotic programming, coding, and 3-D scanning and printing. Library staff will conduct activities for youth residing in north Fort Collins who participate in the Poudre School District off-site afterschool program. Northside Aztlan staff will provide self-directed makerspace activities one evening a week for youth on a drop-in basis. City and library staff members are busy ordering materials, equipment and developing lesson plans. STREAMLab activities are scheduled to launch in February 2015.
Then, this past summer, the United Way of Larimer County selected the Poudre River Public Library District as one of a "community-wide, collective movement to reduce poverty and increase prosperity so that all people in Larimer County have the opportunity for a better life." Library staff are working with other educational agencies on developing common goals and outcomes in the area of early literacy and school readiness. Specifically, the Library District will evaluate its Spanish language early literacy programs as part of this school readiness cohort.
Finally, the Library received a small grant from Target to help us expand the popular Rincón de Cuentos, our Spanish language storytime outreach program. Launched in 2008, Rincón de Cuentos is an innovative program that serves local Spanish-speaking families with young children by training community volunteers to become storytellers using stories, crafts, and song. This weekly program is currently offered in south Fort Collins at the Harmony Mobile Home Park. Now we will be able to continue the program that was piloted earlier this year in north Fort Collins.