Governor Parson awards more than $870,000 to Missouri libraries to expand broadband access

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Today, Governor Mike Parson announced that 39 Missouri libraries were awarded more than $870,000 through the Missouri State Library to help residents access high speed internet for telehealth and distance learning in response to COVID-19.

“COVID-19 has created a massive shift to online services,” Governor Parson said. “Providing our public libraries with the means to meet the need for access to devices and high-speed internet will help close the connectivity gap many students and citizens are experiencing during this time.”
Six initiatives were launched on July 2 as a part of the Rapid Broadband Deployment Initiative which uses the state’s CARES Act funding. The broadband funding for Missouri libraries allocated up to $2.5 million for this program. The Missouri State Library and Missouri Department of Economic Development reviewed and approved grant applications.

“Innovative and impactful proposals show how libraries can play an important role in advancing telehealth and higher education needs in their communities. COVID-19 has disrupted so many aspects of everyday life, and libraries have stepped up to fill in gaps that wouldn’t otherwise be met,” said State Librarian Robin Westphal.

The program was designed to provide grants to Missouri’s public libraries for resources such as hotspots and Wi-Fi enabled devices in support of telehealth and students of higher education. The funds from this program will be used to establish hotspot lending programs, Wi-Fi capable laptops for patron checkout, and expanding bandwidth at libraries to accommodate additional network demands.

“Broadband internet access is essential to the success of our economy and our workforce,” Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon said. “These resources to expand broadband internet will provide more opportunities for Missourians right now, and it will support our economic growth into the future.”

Barton County Library is using the funds to address the increasing usage demand on our network. We will purchase two new servers and three network switches to help strengthen the foundation of our technology services.

Click Here to see a full list of libraries awarded funds.