Friday, March 7, 2014

CENIC Update

About the Pilot Project to Connect Select California Public Libraries to CENIC
Connections to California Research & Education Network to Enable 21st Century Service and Global Collaboration

Despite the recognized benefits of and increasing patron demand for innovative library programs, limited connectivity often prevents librarians in the California State Library System from offering programs and services they perceive would be of value to their patrons. (A comprehensive view of the current state of broadband connectivity for California's public libraries can be seen in the report High-Speed Broadband in California Public Libraries: An Initiative of the California State Library, created in response to a request by the state legislature.) Videoconferencing, streaming media, content creation, specialized software, longer sessions on terminals, and unlimited wireless access are badly needed by many of California's libraries, but insufficient bandwidth thwarts these libraries' efforts to fulfill their vital role in community research and education. In order to empower libraries -- particularly in challenged areas -- to play this role, better connectivity is crucial.

Work is underway to connect California's public libraries to CENIC's California Research & Education Network (CalREN) as a sixth segment, with the California State Librarian acting as the libraries' interaction point with CENIC. To understand the requirements and benefits of connecting public libraries to CalREN, four groups of libraries are currently being connected to the network as a part of a pilot project. The Peninsula Library System, a consortium of 35 public and community college public libraries, was the first to connect to CalREN at 10 Gigabits per second. The next phase will be to upgrade the bandwidth at every branch to 1 Gigabit per second, to be completed during the summer of 2014. A Gigabit connection has also been completed to the San Francisco Public Libraries, a 27-branch library system serving the San Francisco area. The San Joaquin Valley Library System and a group of nine county public libraries in northern Central Valley will be connected in 2014. Libraries in California's Central Valley will also be connected to CENIC as part of the Central Valley Next Generation Broadband Infrastructure Project.

California's education and research communities currently leverage their networking resources under CENIC (, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California, a non-profit corporation created in 1997 in order to obtain cost-effective, high-bandwidth networking to support their missions and respond to the needs of their faculty, staff, and students. Members of CENIC include the 10 campuses of the University of California, the 23 campuses of the California State University, the 112 campuses of California's Community colleges, and nearly 10,000 K-12 schools, as well as private universities such as Caltech, Stanford University, and USC.

CENIC designs, implements, and operates CalREN, the California Research and Education Network, a high-bandwidth, high-capacity Internet network specially designed to meet the unique requirements of these communities, and to which the above institutions and others, the vast majority of the state's research and education institutions, are connected.

As well as connecting these and other research and education institutions to one another, CENIC also connects to other similar networks throughout the United States and the world to make California's research and education members of a truly global collaborative community.

During the spring and summer of 2013, CENIC conducted interviews with librarians in many of these libraries, asking them to describe current uses of technology in their main and branch public libraries, to identify the obstacles they face as a result of limited bandwidth, and to share ideas they have for using expanded broadband capacity to serve their patrons. The results of these interviews have been compiled in a series of reports available on the CENIC website at

From Cenic Library Update Volume 1, Issue 1 First Quarer 2014: 

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