Who We Are: American Library Association
America’s libraries host 29 million people every week and 64.5 million attendees in children’s programs every year. With robust research and learning resources, expert staff and technology tools, libraries are well-positioned to support broadband adoption and meaningful internet use at all ages. Libraries can be found in virtually every community and partner at the national, state, and local levels with other entities committed to addressing digital inclusion. Libraries stand ready to expand and strengthen these partnerships through the ConnectHome initiative.
The American Library Association (ALA) and library professionals serving in our nation’s 120,000 libraries have a deep commitment to ensuring digital opportunity for all people in this nation. Libraries enable free and open access to the internet and online resources and services through public-access computers, high-capacity broadband, technology skills building, innovative programs and services, and robust and relevant digital content. ALA is the oldest and largest library association in the world and provides leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services. Equitable access to online information is a core value and key area of advocacy for ALA and its members.
Our ConnectHomeUSA Commitment
Our nation’s libraries are part of the solution in advancing digital inclusion through what we call The E’s of Libraries™. With the Expert assistance of library professionals, we help facilitate: Education, Employment, Entrepreneurship, Empowerment, and Engagement for Everyone, Everywhere.
ALA will lead collaboration with local libraries. Libraries that partner with local PHAs and other community organizations will provide tools and training so that residents can maximize broadband access to advanced job skills, complete homework assignments, pursue online learning and certifications, and protect their privacy and security of personal information as they expand their online lives. This is what libraries do every day—catalyze individual opportunity and community progress—and we look forward to expanding our connections with public housing residents to advance their goals. Virtually all of our nation’s 16,559 public library locations offer no-fee public access to technology and training that ranges from conducting an online job search to online privacy and security to coding. Additionally, training is flexibly provided as-needed, by appointment, through formal classes or even off-site through, for example, mobile labs.
Our nation’s libraries are trusted community partners, conveners and neutral gathering places ideally suited to bring together stakeholders to explore and address digital inclusion needs and solutions. We invite you to think of our libraries as hosts, as well as stakeholders, for these important conversations.
ALA is proud to be a ConnectHomeUSA partner in advancing a shared vision to empower more people to thrive online.
Why We’re Involved in ConnectHomeUSA
Librarians know that far too many Americans currently lack the technology access and skills to participate fully in education, employment and civic life. Broadband is essential but so too are the skills to make use of it. Support for ConnectHomeUSA builds on work underway in libraries for decades to create community technology hubs as well as reaching beyond library walls with bookmobiles, laptop labs and wireless hotspots to bring more resources and training to more people in more places, including residents of low-income housing.