Important Gates Foundation Survey for Public Libraries

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Broadband Assessment Project Survey: Please return by January 16, 2009

I am writing to inform you about a new project sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, part of their effort to improve high-quality technology services in public libraries. Please read this letter about how you will provide important information regarding Internet connectivity in your library.

This is a new survey, and is different from other surveys and questionnaires you have received concerning Internet service in your library.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently launched the Broadband Assessment Project, a nationwide effort to collect detailed information about Internet connections in all public libraries in the United States. Information gathered in this effort will help the Foundation and its partners raise awareness of the need for high-quality Internet in public libraries and how to meet this need.

The data collected about Internet connectivity will also help the Department of Libraries in our collective work to improve support and funding for Internet services in Vermont’s public libraries.

In addition, the data collected in this survey will inform future Gates Foundation investments to increase and sustain public library access to broadband Internet.

In order to ensure that the project can help us effectively advocate for increased support of library connectivity, we need your help. I strongly urge you to participate in the survey which is an essential part of this project.

The Foundation has engaged a team of third-party researchers (Lieberman Research Worldwide) to conduct the Broadband Assessment Project. This team will be contacting you in January to ask you for information about your library’s Internet connectivity.

Here is what you need to do now, so that we are able to assist the researchers:

  1. Download, save and review the survey spreadsheet; then gather the information requested.
    • Please note: They are asking for information about each library facility/outlet. (Do not include bookmobiles or other mobile units or drop boxes.) Most Vermont libraries have only one outlet.
    • NOTE: You will find a copy of the survey to download, along with other documents, on the DOL website at: http://libraries.vermont.gov/sites/libraries/files/gates/GatesBBsurveyform.x (available beginning January 1, 2009).
  2. Specifically the Foundation wants to understand the following:
    1. Basic information about your library, the number of Internet connections (i.e. Internet Service Provider/ISP) you have, and the name of the person who is the Internet decision-maker in your library. [Note: this survey uses the term “Internet Subscription.” This refers to the Internet connection you have with an individual Internet Service Provider, not to any subscriptions you may have for online services or databases, such as the Vermont Online Library. If your library has, for example, a free Comcast Internet connection, this is an “Internet Subscription.” Some libraries have Comcast, but also purchase another connection, such as a DSL line. In that case, the library has more than one “Internet subscription.”]
    2. Your NCES number. (Available at the DOL website after January 1, 2009 or by calling your regional library consultant.)
    3. The type of Internet connection in your library, the connection speed, the Internet service Provider, and the cost of the connection (from a monthly bill or service agreement);
    4. A basic description of funding for this service (source of funding; level of funding.)
  3. Enter your answers on the attached spreadsheet. If you have questions on how to complete the form, contact your regional librarian or call Barbara Giaimo at 310-552-7704.
  4. Review your answers for completeness and return the spreadsheet via email no later than January 16, 2009. The spreadsheet should be emailed to Vermont@LRWsupport.com Please save a copy for your own records.
  5. Take time to speak with the researcher who contacts you. A representative from Lieberman Research Worldwide (a professional third party researcher hired by the Foundation) may contact you by telephone (January 19-31, 2009) to confirm the information that you have sent in; or, if they have not received a spreadsheet from you, to collect the information via telephone. If a representative from Lieberman Research Worldwide calls you, they will request that you refer to and/or read the information from the spreadsheet, so please keep a copy on hand.

Documents concerning the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Broadband Assessment Project are now posted at the DOL website:

Informational letter to Public Libraries: http://libraries.vermont.gov/sites/libraries/files/gates/GatesBBsurveyletter.pdf

Survey form: http://libraries.vermont.gov/sites/libraries/files/gates/GatesBBsurveyform.xls

(Note that the URL in the original letter was incomplete.)

List of Vermont Libraries with NCES numbers: http://libraries.vermont.gov/sites/libraries/files/gates/VTLibrariesNCESkeys.pdf

If you have questions about this project, please contact your regional consultant.

I want to thank you in advance for taking time to participate in this project and by providing the requested information completely and thoroughly. This program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provides public libraries across the country with an important opportunity for working together to improve Internet connectivity.

Thanks – and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Marty
__________________________
Martha Reid
State Librarian
Vermont Department of Libraries
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609-0601
Tel: (802) 828-3265
Fax: (802) 828-2199
martha.reid@mail.dol.state.vt.us

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