MN Library Services and Technology grants

Shared from the MN Department of Education State Library Services email news alert…

Now Open – Two 2018 LSTA Grant Opportunities

State Library Services is pleased to announce two 2018 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) competitive grant opportunities.

2018 LSTA Competitive Grant 
An estimated $545,000 is available to fund grant proposals ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 that help to achieve Minnesota’s LSTA Five-Year Plan (2018-2022). Grant awards will support projects that address LSTA Sub-goals A2, C3 and E2. The overarching goals are to reduce barriers to access, promote equity, and advance digital literacy.

2018 LSTA Mini Grant
An estimated $50,000 is available to fund grant proposals ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 to help libraries offer programs and services that address Goal B2 in the Minnesota LSTA Five-Year Plan (2018-2022) and the World’s Best Workforce legislation by preparing all children for school and ensuring all third-graders can read at grade level.

Both grants periods are estimated to start on September 15, 2018, and end September 30, 2019.

To learn more about our two current LSTA grant opportunities, please attend an upcoming LSTA 2018 grant guidance webinar – Thursday, June 7, 2018, 2-3 p.m. There is no need to pre-register; just click on the link to attend. (Call-in toll-free number: 1-888-742-5095, Conference Code: 289 945 0924). Grant applications and instructions are available on the Minnesota Department of Education’s Grants Management site. Visit the LSTA webpage or contact Leah Larson (651-582-8604) for more information.

We are looking for reviewers for both grant opportunities to read and score applications and participate in a half-day review discussion (the discussion may not be needed for the LSTA Mini Grants). Please contact Leah Larson (651-582-8604) if you are interested in more information.

Minnesota’s telehealth policies are noted in State Telehealth Laws report

MHealth Intelligence reports…

In its spring 2018 update of the State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies Report, the Center for Connected Health Policy reports that 10 states have amended their telehealth policies since August 2016 to specifically make the patient’s home an originating site for Medicaid-accepted telehealth and telemedicine programs. Those states are Delaware, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

Meanwhile, the report notes that six states have limited the geographic requirement altogether since 2013. And 16 states have added schools to the list of approved originating sites, though some are placing restrictions on those services.

According the CCHP’s sixth annual report, some 160 telehealth-related bills have been introduced during the 2018 legislative session in 44 states, continuing a digital health trend that saw more than 200 pieces of legislation introduced during the 2017 session. But not all of those bills are supportive of new healthcare services.

Minnesota also gets a nod for telehealth licensure…

In terms of telehealth licensure, the report finds that nine states – Alabama, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas – issue specific licenses to use telehealth, while 22 states have joined the Federation of State Medical Boards’ Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, which offers an expedited process to applying for licenses to practice in member states. Three states, Tennessee, Montana and Nevada, dropped individual license requirements to join the compact (though Tennessee’s Osteopathic Board is still issuing telehealth licenses).

Senator Smith is working on Broadband in the Farm Bill

KSFY reports on Senator Tina Smith and her take on the Farm Bill…

But Smith then says there is a third component she is trying to work into the farm bill. “Our farm bill needs to include strong rural development programs like, for example, what I’m proposing to help expand rural broadband.”

That broadband component is becoming more and more of an issue for rural areas.
Iowa’s lieutenant governor Adam Gregg is working on a similar bill specific to that state.
For rural families, broadband access comes down to a practical quality of life issue; the ability to download music, movies and the ability for farmers to quickly and easily connect to the internet for everything from market quotes to supply purchases.
But having easy access to broadband in rural areas also makes those areas more likely to land new businesses and new residents. Without out it can seem like the technological dark ages. “My broadband proposal I hope will be in this legislation.”

US Senate Commerce Committee approves bill to aid rural broadband deployment

The High Plains Midwest Ag Journal reports…

The Senate Commerce Committee April 25 approved the “Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018,” as sponsored by Senators Roger Wicker, R-MS, and Amy Klobuchar, D-MN.

The bill would direct the Federal Communications Commission to establish a task force to identify gaps in broadband connectivity for the nation’s cropland and ranchland. The measure also instructs the agency to develop ways to help encourage broadband adoption and precision agriculture in areas where it is currently unavailable.

Senator Klobuchar had this to say…

Klobuchar said, “We still have work to do to close the digital divide between rural and urban communities. In a 21st century economy that demands efficiency, farmers and ranchers are too often unable to take advantage of new technologies due to limited broadband access. This bipartisan legislation will promote broadband deployment and precision agriculture technology to help Minnesota farmers streamline their operations, improve crop yields and boost their bottom line.”

Here are more details:

Specifically, the legislation outlines these tasks for the new FCC task force:

Identify and measure current gaps in broadband coverage on cropland and ranchland;

Develop policy recommendations, in consultation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to promote the rapid, expanded deployment of fixed and mobile broadband on cropland and ranchland, with the goal of achieving service on 95 percent of croplands and ranchlands in the U.S. by 2025;

Recommend specific steps the FCC should consider to ensure that available farm data from the USDA is reflected in the development of future FCC programs dedicated to the deployment of broadband infrastructure to croplands and ranchlands; and

Develop a public report detailing the status of fixed and mobile broadband coverage on croplands and ranchlands; the projected future connectivity needs of agricultural operations, farmers, and ranchers; and the steps being taken to accurately measure the availability of broadband on croplands and ranchlands and the limitations of current measurement processes.

Saint Paul Public Library Extends to Giant Wash Coin Laundry

I love this idea – I stopped by the laundromat earlier today to check it out. There room was full and the vibe was great. Here’s the info from a press release from the St Paul Library

Mayor Melvin Carter III will launch the new “Wash and Learn” program at Giant Wash (1675 Rice Street, 55117) on May 12, 2018, at 11 a.m. Giant Wash Laundry will host a Free Laundry Day in celebration, and offer free wash and dry to community members who register between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. All attendees will have opportunities to participate in librarian-lead learning workshops and take home free books and educational resources.

“Wash & Learn is an example of the forward-thinking ideas and partnerships we intend to advance throughout Saint Paul,” says Mayor Carter. “Meeting people where they are with Library programs, materials, and resources makes perfect sense. It is through these unique partnerships and simple solutions that we build a city that works for all of us.”

SPPL partnered with Minnesota State Library Services and Libraries Without Borders (LWB), a national nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., to launch Wash & Learn at Giant Wash. The program aims to extend SPPL’s efforts to close the digital divide among residents of Saint Paul. LWB will install laptops and WiFi hotspots at the laundromat, alongside bookshelves with materials customers can read on site or check out and take home.

When I was there, they thought they might clean up to 20,000 pounds of laundry. It looked like the kids had just picked up on the computer and were pretty intent. And two kids had just won bikes. The plan moving forward is to have librarians in the laundromat a couple hours each Saturday until October. It’s a great opportunity to do some one-on-one digital and information literacy lessons. A great model for other communities. In fact turns out Stillwater will try something on Monday and Anoka County is looking at a similar program.

Twin Cities on the short list as possible location of military headquarters

The article doesn’t mention broadband – but I think it’s assumed. What it does mention is all of the things that the army is looking for in a location and most of them require broadband.

The Twin Cities is one of 15 locations on the shortlist. Reading about the opportunity is fun and reads like a nice how-to for high tech recruitment for a community of any size.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports…

The Army considers the new project a “major command” that will organize its modernization process. Although it will include fewer than 500 personnel, the headquarters will locate around what it believes is the country’s best blend of “academic and commercial institutions” to “harness” their talent.

The Army has told each of the 15 finalists that it is “looking for a location where this command’s headquarters can rapidly join an existing innovation ecosystem.”

And local leaders talk about the effort…

“It all starts with a grass-roots effort,” said Ray Goodwin, PaR’s vice president of sales and marketing. The Twin Cities already has “a really great high tech base,” Goodwin noted. But attracting new tech jobs or companies adds to the critical mass.

The article outlines the benefits…

The public-private partnerships and academic relationships the Army says it wants will profit existing businesses and universities, wherever the Futures Command goes, Andes said. But that is only the beginning. “If you look around the country [at government research headquarters], there are usually build-out clusters around them,” Andes said. “When you attract scientists and engineers, there are follow-on benefits. These people tend to start their own businesses.”

And outlines the benefits of the area …

The Twin Cities’ current supply and quality of scientists and engineers is critical. The Army says it will measure the quality and growth potential of local workforces in “nine occupations closely associated with technology innovation: biomedical engineer, chemical engineer, computer and hardware engineer, electrical engineer, materials engineer, materials scientist, mechanical engineer, software developer (applications), and software developer (systems software).” The military is also looking at existing networks that demonstrate industry and academic partnerships and government support for private innovation.

This is why a letter to an Undersecretary of the Army, led by Rep. Betty McCollum and signed by Minnesota’s entire federal delegation, focused on the state’s Fortune 500 companies. The letter also touted current government contractors such as 3M, Orbital ATK, Cray, General Dynamics, Honeywell and Cummins, and science and technology trendsetters such as Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Mayo Clinic and UnitedHealth Group.

“We have the R&D [research and development] and tech,” McCollum said. “UnitedHealth handles the military’s Tricare health insurance; 3M makes body armor. The next step forward is, how do we get on the cutting edge?”

The state university system’s commitment to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is another measure the Army will judge.

Dedicated Broadband for MN Responders is now available

Good news from the press release…

Approved Contract Will Provide Priority and Preemption in Emergencies

ST PAUL – Minnesota’s law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services personnel and sovereign nations now have the opportunity to sign up for the dedicated nationwide public safety broadband network (NPSBN), known as FirstNet. The State of Minnesota finalized the contract with FirstNet and AT&T. The pair has partnered to build and deploy the network at no cost to taxpayers for 25 years.

FirstNet’s dedicated public safety network, devices and apps will allow first responders to send and receive mission-critical information without experiencing delays. Minnesota first responders currently use wireless networks that can become overwhelmed or lack coverage in rural areas, especially during emergencies.

“FirstNet offers priority, preemption and reliability during emergencies like the Interstate 35 bridge collapse or the recent refinery explosion in Superior, Wisconsin,” said Emergency Communication Networks Director Dana Wahlberg. “Duluth responders provided mutual aid to the refinery explosion and experienced congestion on the wireless network during the incident.”

In October 2017, Gov. Mark Dayton signed the agreement after the Department of Public Safety’s Emergency Communication Networks (ECN) division partnered with public safety stakeholders to draft Minnesota’s State Plan. ECN is coordinating with FirstNet and AT&T as they begin to build and develop a quality network across the state.

“By opening up this avenue for Minnesota’s public safety agencies to adopt FirstNet service, the State is ensuring that lifesaving technology quickly gets into the hands of first responders to help them save lives and protect communities,” said First Responder Network Authority CEO Mike Poth. “FirstNet is the only wireless communications platform for emergency response built with the feedback and input of Minnesota’s public safety community and we look forward to our continued partnership with the State as we deploy public safety’s network.”

It is up to each individual public agency and sovereign nation to determine if they want to subscribe to FirstNet. ECN has provided an online workbook to help agencies with project planning and considerations such as coverage, capacity and cost.

What is FirstNet?

FirstNet was created by the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 following a recommendation of the 9/11 Commission. Its mission is to create a dedicated public safety interoperable, nationwide mobile broadband network to enable continued communication during a disaster, emergency or large-scale event. The State of Minnesota initiated the FirstNet Consultation Project in January 2014. For more information on FirstNet, visit:

[FACT SHEET] Learn more about how FirstNet will help Minnesota first responders.