Department of Libraries Submits ARRA Broadband Grant Application

The Vermont Department of Libraries has submitted an application for $601,753 in Federal grant funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program for Public Computing Centers. According to Martha Reid, State Librarian, the BTOP grant awards will be announced in November. “If we receive this grant award, thousands of Vermonters will have access to free computer training at a variety of locations around the state and four of our busiest public libraries will be able to purchase additional computers for public use.”

Partnering with the Vermont State Colleges (VSC), the Department of Libraries designed a proposal that would use funds to enhance public computing centers in the public libraries in Brattleboro, Burlington, Lyndon and Rutland and provide over 10,000 hours of free computer training classes for the public at VSC and public library locations throughout the state. The VSC includes Castleton State College, Lyndon State College, Johnson State College, Vermont Technical College and the Community College of Vermont. In addition, funds would be used to deploy mobile laptop labs in four rural counties for use by 61 public libraries for computer training classes and public access. A successful grant award, combined with $152,724 in matching funds, would be used to purchase computers and related equipment, pay instructors to design and teach classes for the public, and support a cadre of Student Interns who would provide one-on-one assistance to people using library computer centers.

Karrin Wilks, Senior Vice President for the VSC, said “the internship component of the grant will allow our students to gain valuable skills linked to future employment as well as contribute in meaningful ways to their local communities.” The grant is particularly designed to serve the state’s most vulnerable populations: the unemployed and underemployed, the elderly, immigrants who need improved English language skills, and the disabled.

Martha Reid
State Librarian
Vermont Department of Libraries
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609-0601
Tel: (802) 828-3265
Fax: (802) 828-2199