The public library provides internet access for the entire community. You have a library card in good standing, you get internet access in your home.
For the naysayers: This is a huge project that would require an insane amount of funds and people time to work. This is a bit “socialist”. We’d almost be creating a monopoly on internet access that could drive other companies out of the internet provider business.
My take: We need to invest more of our funds into helping our communities build a digital future, so why not try this? Lots of our patrons are coming into the library for digital access anyway, so providing it to them outside of the building could allow us to funnel that power into other projects for the library (parternships with local organizations, building our own digital platforms to deliver information to patrons).
The idea of us creating a monopoly is also something I’d like to debunk. Of course folks would leap at the chance to get free internet access if they just had a library card. But here’s the kicker: the internet access would most likely not be able to be top of the line. I’m not talking dial up here. I’m just saying that giving this type of thing to the masses would most likely make us have to scale things back. People could still pay for faster internet access, but to those that can’t we could offer an alternative.
We could become the search engine for the community. No, I’m not talking about silly homepage created by the library that users see the first thing they sign in (that a very http://www.remember-eworld.com/ idea) but something along those lines. I don’t have the answer yet but I’m hoping you all chime in with comments.
-End idea rant-
Thanks for listening.