Rochester Public Library receives $619K in federal funding

(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester Public Library is one of 260 libraries in the nation to receive Emergency Connectivity Fund Program support from the Federal Communications Commission.

On Friday, the FCC announced the first wave of funding for the program, totaling over $1.2 billion going to libraries, schools, and consortia throughout the United States.

RPL received $619,000 of the ECF funding to support the purchase of connected devices for individuals lacking broadband connectivity. Federal officials say the program will help close the digital divide by making sure individuals have adequate broadband access.

Library Director Audrey Betcher says the library will use the funding to purchase 1,000 Chromebooks with built-in WiFi. “The ECF program provides crucial internet service and equipment to connect families to the educational resources they need.”

To meet federal requirements of the program, RPL is partnering with local organizations to distribute the devices. “We are leveraging the expertise of our local non-profits, government colleagues, and schools to make sure we reach individuals with already-identified needs,” explains Betcher, adding, “We expect the demand to be high for these devices, and by leveraging our partnerships we can be more efficient in rolling out the program.”

Olmsted County non-profits serving under-resourced residents are invited to reach out to the library if interested in learning more about the program. Organizations can contact Karen Lemke at