Technology Planning for Public Libraries
Several changes have been made in the E-rate program because of the 6th Report and Order that went into effect on January 3, 2011. Two of the changes directly affect the library Technology Plan.
An approved Technology Plan is not required for E-rate reimbursement or discounts for the cost of:
- Telecommunications service-including telephone service costs.
- Library-contracted Internet service outside of any MOREnet-contracted Internet service.
A Technology Plan does need to be written, submitted to the state library, and approved before July 1 of the current fiscal year if a library is filing for E-rate Priority 2 services, which includes "Internal Connections" and "Basic Maintenance of Internal Connections" and the current approved technology plan for the library expires on July 1. Technology Plans must be accompanied by a Technology Plan Update Form and be submitted by May 1 to allow adequate time for evaluation. To find out when the current, approved technology plan expires, check the ending date given on the most recent approval letter received from the Missouri State Library.
The Missouri State Library will continue to evaluate and certify Technology Plans for any Missouri public library that requests this service. Those libraries that are required to have an approved Technology Plan on file due to the library's filing for Priority 2 services will have priority in the approval process. A public library that plans to file for Priority 2 services may contact Carl.Wingo@sos.mo.gov prior to plan creation for guidance on completion, evaluation, and approval of public library Technology Plan.
Technology Plan Writing:
Though the budget element is no longer required to be included in the Technology Plan, libraries are still required show that it has budgeted for the non-discounted portion of the bills, so it is advised that the library's budget show a line for non-discounted telephone costs and the Internet service cost.
- Assistance for plan development:
Sources for is available from several sources.
- Missouri Public Libraries that are required to have an approved Technology Plan are required to submit a Technology Plan Update Form annually.
- The plan should include all the required elements described in the Technology Plan Evaluation Matrix .
- USAC web page includes a general description of the technology plan requirements.
- Webjunction has a site devoted to the technology planning process and includes sample technology plans.
The ALA E-rate Task Force has released a list of items that must be retained for Audit purposes. Items in this list should be kept for 5 years after the end of the E-rate filings that pertained to the years covered in the Technology Plan (generally after October 28 of the last plan year): E-rate Documentation Retention Requirements .The FCC also provides a link to the FCC Fifth Report and Order that covers document retention.