By Jenn Watt
Published Feb. 14
Funding Internet connectivity at rural libraries could be just a click away.
The Ontario government opened voting online for 13 projects under eight focus areas. Whichever receives the most public support will be included in the 2017 provincial budget.
The province has committed to fund up to eight ideas within a $3 million framework.
One of the ideas could have an impact on Haliburton County says local library CEO Bessie Sullivan: a project asking for $250000 to fund digital service at rural northern and indigenous libraries.
“Libraries offer innovative services like wi-fi hotspot lending programs to help people have access to education and library resources at home. Public libraries also provide crucial access to e-resources e-learning and connectivity to their entire communities yet many smaller libraries cannot fully support access due to limitations in broadband and bandwidth” the application reads.
Sullivan says that if this project receives funding it could help Haliburton County Public Library offset costs related to Internet connectivity.
“If we don’t have to spend money on connectivity we can put more into other areas where we find ourselves behind” Sullivan said via email.
The Ontario Library Association of which the local library is a part made the application and is championing it.
Voting started on Feb. 2 and is open until Thursday Feb. 23 at midnight. To vote go to Ontario.ca/BudgetTalks. Each person receives three votes. The library initiative is listed under “invest in community infrastructure projects.”