February 6, 2017

Kristen Rebmann, SJSU
Don Means, GLN 


“Beyond the Walls” Awards Seek Libraries to Lead Community Anchor Collaborations
$15,0000 subgrant awards to fund five community TV WhiteSpace projects.

San Jose, CA, February 6, - San Jose State University’s School of Information (iSchool) in partnership with the Gigabit Libraries Network (GLN) announced today they have begun accepting proposals to fund five projects under a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to expand the Libraries WhiteSpace Project.

The award seeks libraries who will initiate partnership projects with neighboring anchor institutions to explore and develop innovative uses for TV WhiteSpace (TVWS) units to support remote fixed and portable library hotspots at new locations in their communities. 

The “Beyond the Walls” Awards are funded through a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS): ”Libraries Leading in Digital Inclusion and Disaster Response via TV WhiteSpace Wireless Connections.” A self-paced online course has been created to accelerate local project planning.

"This initiative will further explore the role of libraries as leading community anchors promoting access and inclusion through strategic technology integration.  There's a nice intersection between what we're implementing and the concept of community anchors, which has been used by IMLS to describe the role of libraries in providing civic engagement, cultural opportunities, and economic vitality to communities,” says project Co-director Kristen Rebmann of SJSU.

Winners of these subawards, due to be announced in April, will support library-led formation of local/regional collaborations with schools, health clinics or other community anchor institutions (CAIs). Successful proposals will include innovative, high impact plans for TVWS/Wi-Fi implementations that: (1) improve access/inclusion and (2) develop structures for multi-organizational collaboration as a component of community crisis/disaster preparation. 

“TV WhiteSpace is a new wide-area, wireless networking resource, ideally suited for libraries, schools and other community anchor institutions to enhance and extend access,” notes fellow project Co-director Don Means of Gigabit Libraries Network. The project and subaward winners will be supported by leading global manufacturers of TVWS technology: Adaptrum, Carlson Wireless and 6Harmonics.

The project builds on the work of a grant in 2015 from the Knight Foundation to GLN in partnership with the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies (COSLA) to build preliminary analysis and orientation tools, including a 2 minute overview video, for libraries interested in exploring the capabilities of license-free TVWS to inexpensively expand access to a range of institutional services.

Like WiFi, TVWS units use free open spectrum, requiring no third party carriers, ongoing fees, licenses or other permissions for use in wide area intra-facility digital communications. But unlike WiFi, TVWS has long range and penetrative capabilities that can support broadband connections over miles and around or through obstructions like trees and buildings.

A national consortium led by SJSU-iSchool and GLN including the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB), National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) will join to create new learning resources and conduct outreach to raise awareness of the program which will infuse 5 libraries, each with $15,000 in funds as sub-grant awards to support innovative regional implementations using TVWS wireless communications capabilities.

The San José State University (SJSU) School of Information (iSchool) – formerly School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) – prepares individuals for careers as information professionals. Graduates work in diverse areas of the information profession, such as user experience design, digital asset management, information architecture, electronic records management, information governance, digital preservation, and librarianship.

The Gigabit Libraries Network operates as an open collaboration of tech-savvy, innovation libraries cooperating as a distributed global testbed/showcase environment for high performance applications and equipment in the service of educational, civic and cultural objectives.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission has been to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. For the past 20 years, our grant making, policy development, and research has helped libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit

“Beyond The Walls” Awards Brought to You By:



Made possible thanks to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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