The Role of Libraries in National Broadband Plans and Policies

Working document developed by EIFL and IFLA examining how libraries are included in national broadband plans and strategies

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EIFL, IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions)
October 2019

In a joint research project, EIFL and IFLA (the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) examined and compared how national broadband plans and policies in 32 countries envision the role of public libraries in connecting people to the internet. The research also highlighted national strategies for supporting public libraries to fulfil these roles. 

The results of the research were presented at the 2019 session of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) Dynamic Coalition on Public Access in Libraries (DC-PAL), in a Working Document titled, 'The Role of Libraries in National Broadband Plans and Policies'.

The research found that national broadband plans and policies engaged libraries to achieve a number of goals: support public internet access; deliver digital literacy and ICT training; promote e-learning and support formal educational institutions; and create local content by digitizing heritage materials.

Many plans contained measures to support libraries in fulfilling these tasks: connecting libraries to broadband infrastructure, equipping them with ICT hardware and software, or helping them bear internet subscription costs. A number of plans rely on private-public partnerships and Universal Service Funds to deliver this support.

In 2020, EIFL and IFLA completed a sequel to this research,  ‘Public Access in Libraries: Achievements and Insights from Broadband Policy Implementation’. The 2020 research examines the impact of national broadband policy implementation on public internet access in libraries, and on library services, in five countries.