Lee Ann • March 10, 2017
In recognition of their work on behalf of California’s libraries, CENIC has selected Christina DiCaro and Michael Dillon as recipients of the 2017 Innovations in Networking Award for Broadband Applications. Their efforts were critical to securing the necessary funding for public libraries to be connected to CalREN, the high-capacity network operated by CENIC, joining the California K-12 system, California Community Colleges, the California State University system, the University of California system, Stanford, Caltech, USC, the Naval Postgraduate School, and members at other vital public-serving institutions – a community of over 20 million individuals.
For over thirty years, Michael and Christina have shown unparalleled dedication to California libraries. From protecting the privacy rights and circulation records of library patrons to drafting and securing passage of library construction bond legislation, they have tirelessly advocated for libraries and the communities they serve. Their efforts to preserve library funding have improved the lives of generations of California libraries, librarians, and, most importantly, library patrons.
Their ability to understand and articulate the needs of public libraries was critical to a statewide effort to make the case to the California Legislature that high-speed broadband is essential for libraries to fulfill their missions. When a 2013 needs assessment showed that 52% of California’s public libraries had slower broadband connections than many Californians have in their homes, they ably guided the advocacy efforts needed to secure funds to address this critical need. It is safe to say that without their efforts the funds provided by Governor Brown and the State Legislature may not have been forthcoming.
“Mike and Christina worked tirelessly with the California Library Association, the California State Library, Califa, and librarians throughout California to inform and advocate for high-speed broadband services for libraries in California. They talked to senators, assembly members, aides, and anyone who would listen to push the message of equal access to the Internet for all libraries in all communities. Their determination secured the funding to connect to CalREN and allowed libraries to better serve their patrons.” said Misty Jones, the past president of the California Library Association.
A major goal of this initiative is to set a new standard for Internet connectivity in public libraries at 1Gbps or higher. This goal is being achieved, and California libraries will truly be Gigabit libraries, with more than 90% of main libraries connecting at 1Gbps or higher.
“The impact of connecting public libraries to CalREN has been tremendous. Over 80% of jurisdictions are connected or in the process of connecting, serving the needs of thousands of Californians who did not have high-speed broadband access. Bridging the digital divide continues to be important for libraries, and I am grateful to Mike and Christina for their work on behalf of the California Library Association to improve access statewide.” said Helen McAlary, President of the California Library Association.
Innovations in Networking Awards are presented each year by CENIC to highlight exemplary innovations that leverage ultra-high bandwidth networking, particularly where those innovations have the potential to transform the ways in which instruction and research are conducted or where they further the deployment of broadband in underserved areas.
About the California Library Association • www.cla-net.org
CLA is the community for California libraries. The Association provides leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services, librarianship, and the library community. We help members excel in a fast-changing job market. We're a resource for learning about new ideas and technology, and we actively work to influence legislation affecting libraries and librarians.
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