Schlow Centre Region Library

State College, PA

Describe the need that you’re trying to address.

All funding for project secured locally:

Library bandwidth and resources are confined to downtown location: Popular parks would increase access.

Learners from local low-income families have reduced access to increasingly digital curriculum: WiFi homework “hotspots” would increase access to crucial online resources.

Park usage data hard to estimate: Networks could anonymously detect trends and help develop future activities.

Public safety a perennial concern: Analytics could provide usage alerts and, after hours, cameras could enhance park safety. By working with the Rights and Dissent Foundation to vet activities, this initiative has the opportunity to pioneer public safety best practices that also protect civil liberties.

Data is needed to test whether this concept could sustainably scale via a library-leased WAN, extending a similar service county-wide (including communities with limited broadband access).

Entrepreneurs and innovators could benefit from a community network: We could provide the infrastructure to pilot local services and applications over TVWS, such as civic engagement apps, streaming library events, etc.

No adequate plan to distribute internet during a long-term regional blackout: we’d work with Centre Region Office of Emergency Management to test deploying internet from our generator-supported, multihomed connections, incorporating into the Centre Region Penn State Joint Emergency Operations Plan.

What would be a successful outcome for your project?

Distribute library bandwidth to four high-traffic regional parks selected for proximity to schools with the highest participation in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Parks also chosen for proximity to low-income housing. Librarians promote “homework hotspots” in classrooms, public WiFi (e.g., prototype a local mesh network) with educator-curated “homework portals” and traffic prioritized to library and school resources with a goal to achieve 200 sessions/wk, tracking IP access of resources, and benchmarked via speed and reliability tests.

 Distance to # of Schools  Avg NSPL Participation
 PA Military Museum Grounds
  - Oak Hill Park (alternate)
 <2 mi 2 23%
 Tudek Park (Busy "destination" park) <2 mi 3 19%
 Orchard (Busy neighborhood park,
bike path from high school)
  - Holmes-Foster Park (alternate)
 Spring Creek Park (Busy "destination" park) <2 mi 2 17%


Penn State University tech-policy and TVWS expert, Sascha Meinrath, will lead development of a substantive policy brief documenting successes stemming from this initiative. This brief will utilize State College’s TVWS implementation to educate key decision makers about the scalability, civic benefits, and cost-reduction potential of TVWS implementations (e.g., long-term cost-savings of TVWS technology vis-a-vis legacy equipment/services) and bolster the case for expanded use of TVWS technologies for civic and analytic services, quality of life improvements, and local media offerings.

Anonymously monitor network activity in vagrancy trouble-zones for after-hours activity. Park rule violations and enable quicker police response. Measureable by assessing incident reports in parks.

Utilize fitness tracking to demonstrate achievements from in-park fitness programs and share via social media. Measureable via collected data and success stories posted from activity site.

Centre Region Parks and Recreation (CRPR) and Schlow Library’s, “Take the Classroom Outdoors,” video conferencing initiatives connect in-library programs with off-site participants; participation in these convenings may increase.

CRPR parks could stream (licensed) movies at our Movies In The Parks events. Using the TVWS network would negate equipment rental costs, enabling a higher frequency of these community nights out. Increased participation would be measured via audience counts.

Schlow’s Summer Reading Program theme, “Building A Better World,” could extend to parks via streams of related theme programming. By integrating outdoor activities, connectivity, and library resources (both expertise and multi-media), these initiatives will pioneer educational content and pedagogies that expand upon existing themes and programs.

Utilize anonymous data analytics to monitor park usage; work with Penn State University researchers and the Defending Rights and Dissent Foundation to derive qualitative and empirically-backed data methods that leverage the TVWS network to improve park and library service offerings while protecting user privacy.

Connect local software developers and startup companies who can develop valuable new applications leveraging this local networking resource.

Establish capital and operational budget baselines and develop a scaling plan for Phase II of this project. Work with major donors (e.g., State College is a Knight Foundation target community and receives substantial support for civic technology initiatives) to expand the TVWS partnership, scale the network to county-wide, and implement new access and service offerings.

Please list your team members or partners and their roles

Schlow Centre Region Library:

Nathaniel Rasmussen, Head of IT Services (project manager); Alan Claver, Michael Hayward IT Services; Maria Burchill, Head of Adult Services; Anita Ditz, Head of Children’s Services; (and supporting service staff).

Centre Region Parks and Recreation:

Hotspots. Collect data to enhance park experience, and safety. Provide relevant programming in connected parks.

Pennsylvania Military Museum:

Hotspots. Busy recreational grounds, hosts weekly farmer’s market and annual arts festival.

KINBER - Non-profit network in Pennsylvania, library’s ISP:

Additional bandwidth to the project for low/no cost including on-net caching, and Internet2. Technical resource, explore adding TVWS as a last-mile solution.

Borough of State College:

KINBER’s Point of Presence for Schlow. Wired data and electrical connectivity.

Sascha Meinrath, Palmer Chair in Telecommunications, Penn State University; Director, X-Lab:

Technical and administrative advisor; policy brief lead.

John M. Carroll, Director of Penn State’s Center for Human-Computer Interaction:

Design community engagement through community data.

New Leaf Initiative - Community innovation hub:

Promote access to TVWS to entrepreneurs and social innovators. local wireless ISP:

Operational partner..

Centre Region COG Office of Emergency Management:

Test deploying bandwidth during long-term blackouts.

Defending Rights and Dissent Foundation:

Vet project data practices against the highest civil privacy standards

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