The Maine School and Library Network brings high speed — I mean really high speed — internet to 950 schools and libraries around the state. It does all of that for only four million bucks. More than 250,000 Mainers use it every day. It’s one of the greatest bargains in broadband.
But because of the way it’s funded, primarily on the backs of landline users (which made sense when it was created back in 1996), it is under threat.
In order to come up with a better way to fund the Maine School and Library Network, I’ve been working with a lot of librarians. What we’ve done is developed a compromise that will add cellphones and cable phones to the types of phone lines that pay in a small amount each month to fund the system. That will take the pressure off landline users, and adapt with the times, as the landlines we’ve relied on so long fade away.
And I have to say, you may have a stereotype, but I’m here to tell you it’s wrong. These librarians are tough. The head of McArthur Public Library in Biddeford has a lot of ink (in the form of tattoos) and looks like part of a motorcycle gang. And he’s on my side. We’re going to get this compromise through the legislature. Won’t you help, by contacting your legislator, and asking them to support LD256?