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As a public library, one of our fundamental values is to help our patrons be informed and engaged in our dynamic society.
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) repealed “net neutrality” rules that regulated businesses that connect consumers to the internet, which was a highly controversial decision because of its potential to provide unequal access to internet content.
We hope you will find these resources useful to learn more about the issus. Our librarians are always ready to connect our patrons and our community with vetted sources for learning more.
Check your preferred news source for information on the Net Neutrality Vote
Opposing Viewpointsis a robust library resource that can be accessed with your PPL card. This online tool covers today’s most important social issues, including Net Neutrality. These informed, differing views present various sides of the issue and help researchers and information seekers develop the confidence to draw their own valid conclusions.
For background information on how the Net Neutrality issue arose:
This afternoon, the FCC approved their Restoring Internet Freedom Order, overturning the Open Internet Order that established net neutrality protections within the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 2015. PPL and the library field are strongly opposed to this decision.
Libraries rarely advocate on legal or regulatory actions, holding to our commitment to educate and inform rather than take sides. However, net neutrality principles are a core library value. Public libraries take seriously our mission to provide free and equitable information access to all members of the public as they seek to become more informed citizens and to improve the quality of their lives. Libraries strongly assert that equity of access to online information and services is critical to a healthy democracy.
As others have voiced, our concerns about the Restoring Internet Freedom Order center on whether internet service providers (ISPs) could control what and how internet content travels on their networks. This would make certain resources unavailable or slower to access for those who do not or cannot pay, and has the potential to infringe upon new online content from competitive entrepreneurs and creators looking to enter the market.
Public libraries like PPL are committed to bridge the digital divide – the social and economic inequality of access to the internet – by providing broadband, computers, and training for free and open use to our patrons, many of whom rely on the Library as a primary web access point. We are therefore extremely concerned that, without net neutrality rules in place, such access will be substantially unprotected.
Inequity of access to content could also compromise our ability to provide the breadth of information needed to serve people with diverse needs and perspectives, as we do at all of our branches and online.
PPL joins our library colleagues around the country to stand with internet founders, content providers, business people, and many millions of others in asserting that net neutrality principles must be the standard held in our society, and rules must apply to reinforce their value. We are fortunate in Maine that Senators Collins and King, and Representative Pingree made clear statements prior to the FCC’s vote in favor of preserving the Open Internet Order.
At this point, there are two ways that you can engage in the future of net neutrality. First, keep yourself informed about the issues and actions taken (see PPL’s recommended resources). Second, as an informed consumer, participate in the discussion as it moves forward and learn more about your own internet access and speed.
You can count on PPL to continue to provide complete and balanced information, to be forward-looking, and to actively defend your freedom to information access and expression.
A couple of years ago, I put together this blog post about charitable giving. Remarkably, the included links are still alive and kicking.
The instinct is strong to shake off the frustration we feel when Black Friday comes, Small Business Saturday goes, and Cyber Monday gets smaller in the rear-view mirror… if your gift list seems lame in the face of world realities, maybe the personal urge to make things better can be indulged for the good of the many. Read on:
You know you want to save the world. You have a heart the size of our great State o’ Maine and finite finances. Where, oh, where to begin?
The good news is that there are some terrific resources out there to help you make good decisions that suit your priorities. Before your good intentions grind to a confused halt, take a look at some of these websites.
Where to start? A really terrific site to check out is Philanthropedia, Guide to Better Giving. It is a great tool to help you focus and to understand various strategies for giving. It answers questions you may not know you have!
Sometimes you have a good idea of who you’d like to give to, but you’d like some reliable nuts-and-bolts rating information* about how they use your hard-earned donated dollars.
* Keep in mind that different sites will use different grading scales when rating nonprofits, as outlined in this TEDTalk. This one is well worth a few minutes viewing time. It presents an interesting view of nonprofits’ spending strategies.
These sites can also provide some focus when you know you want your donation to go toward a particular area of need, but need to find an organization that is a good fit.
It isn’t easy to know who to trust when unsolicited pleas for donations come your way. It might be a phone call, an email, something in your mailbox, or someone at your door. The Federal Trade Commission has a few things to say on the subject.
And let’s not forget that when we indulge our urge to be generous, we do so with the blessing of the US Tax Code. Here are some tips from the IRS. Charitable giving can really pay off !
There are so many ways to make a difference. Finding what works for you can feel overwhelming. When opening your wallet seems like the best option, these resources may serve as guides. And, let’s just say it: there is nothing like the good feeling you get when you use your head to put your money where your heart is.
Happy Giving! Eileen of the Business and Government Team.