Stephen E. Arnold: Libraries Hurt If Net Neutrality Dies

Civil Society, Ethics, IO Impotency
Stephen E. Arnold
Stephen E. Arnold

Libraries Hurt If Net Neutrality Dies

The Washington Post blog The Switch interviewed the American Library Association’s Director of Government Relations Lynne Bradley in the article “Why The Death of Net Neutrality Would Be A Disaster For Libraries” about how libraries would be adversely affected without net neutrality. As public institutions with most of their resources online, libraries rely on free Web to serve their users and provide information. With budgets already stretched to their limits, libraries will not be able to afford to pay to ISPs. More people are going to the public libraries to have access to the Internet and other digital services. If that is taken away, not only will libraries suffer, but public education institutions will also suffer.

“In a way, not having a truly open Internet is like privatizing all of the Internet. Ournation was built on the concept of public schools, and public libraries are part of that, even the universal service fund at the FCC. These are part of our nation’s public policies that say as all educated, as all can have public libraries, as all can have public phone service, it’s best for the country as a whole.”

Libraries are at the forefront of how people consume information. Even if most of the resources are digital, the users represent a large percentage of people who go unnoticed when it comes to usage. While it’s safe to assume that everyone has Internet access, it needs to be taken into account how they connect. Raise the price of Internet access and it will harm those who need it most.

Whitney Grace, June 12, 2014
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