The Mississippi Library Commission (MLC) is pleased to announce that because Contract 5000 has officially been awarded to CSpire and signed by the Department of Information Technology Services (ITS), fiber internet will be available to every library in the state of Mississippi within an 18-month implementation time frame.
The change offers all public libraries in the state higher internet speeds at lower prices. Jennifer Peacock, Administrative Services Bureau Director, stated, “It is exciting to know that Mississippi will finally have high internet speeds, even in the most rural areas of the state. This will allow libraries to better serve their patrons and offer more programs to the communities they serve.”
In preparation for the switch, MLC staff and other state agency representatives meet each week to organize and plan the implementation. MLC is reaching out to all library systems to help prepare for the migration. When the project is complete, public libraries should see a significant decrease in cost and increase in bandwidth speeds to a minimum of 100Mbps.
Currently, some libraries have slow internet speeds equivalent to dialup, which is challenging to their patrons. Sidney Cobb, Director at the Humphreys County Library System, said, “Many of our patrons do not have access to high-speed internet and WiFi other than in our library, and the increased speed of Contract 5000 will help us in our mission of digital inclusion. Some benefits from enhanced digital inclusion are improved education and employment possibilities, improved health and wellbeing, and networking with other resources.”
The Mississippi Library Commission supports innovative programs and initiatives to strengthen and enhance library services for all Mississippians. The agency is funded by the Mississippi Legislature, with additional funding provided through the Institute of Museum and Library Services under provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). MLC offers leadership in library services, advocacy, and training for library professionals and paraprofessionals.