Google Fiber Sparks Kansas City K-20 Librarian Campaign

  • Google Fiber
KANSAS CITY, KS - Inspired by the Google Fiber for Communities project soon to begin deployment in their city, Kansas City librarians are leading the way in a new national initiative, the K-20 Librarian. The first local consortium, initiated by the KCK Public Library, is a collaboration of school, public and academic librarians.

The consortium hopes to build bridges across K-12 schools, public libraries, colleges, universities and other organizations that will extend distance learning opportunities and resource sharing. It will leverage emerging technologies such as the high-performance Internet access anticipated from Google’s fiber project.

The KCK K-20 Librarian collaboration is part of a national advocacy campaign launched by the Digital Village “Fiber to the Library” initiative and Internet2’s K20 program.

Historically, K-12 school systems, public libraries and colleges and universities have had little success in sharing resources. They serve varied populations with different needs and have dissimilar governance structures, funding sources, internal cultures and traditions.

A New National Education Continuum
This new initiative aims to make K-20 Librarians the connective tissue of a new national education continuum that integrates all these institutions of learning. In Kansas City, the group hopes to serve as a distributed test lab, exploring applications that use very fast Internet connectivity, immersive technologies and multiuser digital environments for educational, cultural and civic purposes.

Members of the collaboration include the KCK Public Library, KCK School District, KCK Community College, University of Kansas Libraries, Kan-ed, KanREN (the Kansas state research and education network) and Digital Village of Sausalito, Calif. The group encourages wider adoption of the K-20 Librarian concept and invites participation by librarians of all types across Kansas, the greater KC metro area and beyond.

Joe Reardon, mayor of Kansas City, welcomes the initiative, saying, “Our community’s partnership with Google Fiber is helping spur new opportunities and initiatives like the KCK K-20 Librarian consortium. This leveraging of more robust broadband connectivity with enhanced learning and cooperation is part of what I believe is the formula for success in communities in the future. I applaud all of the partners that are making this a reality.”

Dr. Cynthia Lane, superintendent of schools, adds, “The K-20 Librarian Initiative, together with the Google Fiber project, will provide students in the Kansas City, Kan., public schools with tremendous opportunities to harness the full power of the Internet in order to expand and deepen their learning. From technologies such as videoconferencing, online and distance learning, to ideas and technologies yet to be invented, Google Fiber will help district students connect to the broader world and develop the skills that will allow them to graduate college career ready.”

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