Local leaders take on library challenge

Published: Jan. 19, 2016 at 10:53 PM EST
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When Trey Bonaparte got his hands on his first library card, he discovered a whole world of knowledge.

"When I thought it was reading for 30 minutes it was actually three hours,” Bonaparte said.

He’s finishing his degree at Binghamton University with a major in English. He is the first in his family to go off to college.

“In order for people to really understand that story, you’ll have to learn to read those thoughts and now I can do that for others,” he added.

Now he’s encouraging other students to get their own library card. Something library director Greg Mickells believes everyone at his library in Madison Wisconsin should have.

“There’s tremendous disparity with people that have access,” Mickells said.

Mickells said it’s not only a disparity with books, but with internet access.

The Presidents goal is to not only bring connectivity through high speed Internet but to reconnect Americans with their local libraries to remind them just how much our libraries hold inside.

"They’ve always been a source of innovation from the beginning of the country. Great place to meet, you no longer have to be quiet, you can be doing maker innovation activities as well,” Chief Technology Officer, Megan Smith said.

Smith helped roll out the framework for the initiative that also helps bring high speed internet to our nations libraries. It brings connectivity to cities like Toledo Ohio.

“You don’t even have to go into the library if you have that card, be able to access many of the collections,” Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson said.

For Trey he’s still using his library card, as he finishes his degree and works towards becoming a lawyer.

“I’m a lot stronger now that I found that library at that time,” he added.

The Challenge supports the President’s continued efforts to expand high speed broadband to all Americans and is part of his ConnectED initiative that has already helped to connect 20 million more students to broadband. ConnectED is on track to connect 99 percent of K-12 students to high-speed Internet in their classrooms and libraries by 2018.

Over 60 cities have signed on to the Library Challenge. For links on how to get involved yourself, go to

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