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Maine Libraries Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 1 Feb 2017 20:39:35 +0000
"Ritter, James" <[log in to unmask]>
"Ritter, James" <[log in to unmask]>
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Jeff, thank you very much.

This is the time for a call to action as Jeff has offered.  We are so
fortunate to have Representative Grohman sponsor this legislation.  If you
have colleagues working in schools, please let them know that their voice
needs to be heard as well!

As we all know, for the first time ever last year, Libraries were assessed
a *Participation Fee* to help close the funding gap as a result of
declining revenue into the Maine Technology Education Access Fund (MTEAF).
This legislation seeks to restore funding to MTEAF using a different way
to assess the revenue collected, which we hope will create a sustainable
revenue stream into MTEAF to support MSLN for many many years.

As Jeff asks, please reach out to your local legislators and use the
information and links he provides to discuss the proposed legislation with

Most importantly and more than anything else ‹ just talk about how
important your libraryıs internet connectivity is to your community.  That
is what this is all about!

Thank you, and as Jeff indicated, please don't hesitate to ask me any

James Ritter
State Librarian

Maine State Library
64 SHS, Augusta, ME 04333
Twitter: @RitterMSL

On 2/1/17, 3:20 PM, "[log in to unmask] on behalf of
Jeff Cabral" <[log in to unmask] on behalf of
[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Good afternoon all,
>Let me say first that if you have questions on this email or the
>legislation referred to herein, please direct them to Jamie Ritter or
>Janet McKenney at the Maine State Library.
>I'm writing to ask you to support legislation offered by my local
>Representative Martin Grohman of Biddeford, to help correct the
>decline in funding for the Maine School and Library Network.
>Representative Grohman has worked closely with a number of
>constituents, from me
>personally to the Public Advocate's Office, Department of Education,
>Maine State Library, Networkmaine and more.  He has crafted a piece of
>legislation with the support of bi-partisan Senators and
>Representatives.  While there may be tweaks to the way the legislation
>is written to make the assessment more equitable to all types of
>broadband providers in Maine, the first solid draft can be found here.
>LD 256
>As we all know, members of the Maine Legislature need to hear your
>voice, and I hope Representative Grohman's bill does get approved.
>This issue is local to all of us, and we need to be heard to share our
>stories as to how valuable MSLN is.
>Here's how all of us can help:
>1.  Talk to your local legislators and share with them this fact sheet
>about MSLN and how the MTEAF fund has declined.  This link will take
>you to the document located on the Maine State Library's repository
>2. Make sure your individual library patrons and your library's Board
>of Directors and/or local selectmen/Council know about MSL and the
>declining MTEAF revenue.
>3. If you have a legislator who sits on the Energy, Utilities, and
>Technology Committee then you must reach out to them directly. Their
>names, towns, and email addresses are here:
>4. If you have a legislator who sits on the Education and Cultural
>Affairs Committee, then you must reach out to them directly. Their
>names, towns, and emails addresses are here:
>5. Unless rescheduled, on Tuesday, February 14, the Energy, Utilities,
>and Technology Committee will take up this legislation and hear
>testimony about it.  I will be testifying in support of this
>legislation as will Jamie Ritter our State Librarian.  You too should
>be at the hearing if you can in order to show your support -- and
>possibly offer very brief testimony in support of Representative
>Grohman's bill.
>Finally, I have copied below an OpEd article that Representative
>Grohman has written and will run in our local paper, the
>Journal-Tribune, this Friday.  You too, can share this article written
>by him and you can tell your own stories as to how valuable our
>internet connectivity is to our community.
>Thanks in advance to everyone for your support.
>Legislation Needed to Protect the Maine School and Library Network
>Imagine taking on a job search today without the internet. Or looking
>for a new home or apartment. Even if you have internet on your phone,
>that's hard to do - let alone advancing your career by taking an
>online class or working remotely. And consider our schools - how
>important is it for students today to have access to high speed
>Yet access to all of those opportunities is publicly available, thanks
>to the Maine School and Library Network (MSLN), which has brought
>internet access to every school and library in Maine since 1996. Even
>as it is sometimes taken for granted, the Maine School and Library
>Network really is the jewel of Maine's broadband internet.
>And this is not dial up. MSLN features some of the fastest speeds
>around. That's right - nearly every school and library in Maine can
>boast of 100 megabits per second symmetrical internet with many
>connecting at 1000 megabits per second. Typical home and business
>internet speeds are much slower, especially on the upload side. And at
>our schools, with hundreds of students using the service, that speed
>is even more important.
>Reached at McArthur Library in Biddeford, Library Director Jeff Cabral
>said: "MSLN connectivity is the backbone to everything we do and
>ongoing sustainable funding for this would be of paramount importance.
>So many individuals rely on our public internet connection every day."
>But the MSLN is not just for larger cities like Biddeford - it also
>reaches the smallest towns, providing internet access to approximately
>950 schools and libraries statewide.
>For example, the very beautiful town of Weld, located in our western
>mountains region, is in a rural area without high speed internet. The
>high speed wifi makes the library a vital entity and a critical part
>of the community.
>However, funding for MSLN is declining. State funding comes from the Maine
>Telecommunications Education Access Fund, which is supported by a
>fixed surcharge on in-state calls.  These state funds are augmented by
>a federal contribution from the FCC's E-Rate program - created by
>Senator Olympia Snowe - with a more than 2 to 1 match.  As times
>change, and Mainers make fewer phone calls (and use more text and
>data), the revenues supporting MSLN have declined. We need to find a
>new, stable source of funding that responds to these changes. I've
>submitted legislation to do just that.
>The MSLN is an immense bargain, reaching our entire state and
>providing connectivity in schools and libraries for Mainers from all
>walks of life: students, job seekers, and seniors, in rural areas and
>cities, for only $4 million a year. Won't you join me in supporting
>this important legislation to provide a stable funding source for this
>critical program?
>Thanks everyone,
>Jeff Cabral
>Library Director
>McArthur Public Library
>270 Main Street
>PO Box 346
>Biddeford, ME 04005
>(207) 284-4181
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