Route Fifty: State Laws Slow Down High-Speed Internet for Rural America. “Electric cooperatives want to help bridge the digital divide between rural and urban America as more federal funding becomes available for rural broadband. But a 77-year-old law may prevent one of the nation’s poorest states from fully tapping into millions of new federal dollars to expand high-speed internet service to needy rural communities.”
Washington Secretary of State: Check Out New Washington Rural Heritage Collections. “In the past year, nearly 2,000 items have been added to Washington Rural Heritage, a digital collection hosted by the State Library. Five new collections were created, 10 libraries became project partners, and nearly 20 partnerships were formed between libraries and local museums, historical societies, and private contributors.”
St. Olaf College: Website created at St. Olaf provides resources on rural immigration. “Nearly a decade ago, St. Olaf College Professor of Political Science Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak began pairing students in her Immigration and Citizenship course with organizations working to integrate immigrants into rural communities. Students conducted interviews with the organizations, consulted with experts, and reviewed the latest research on immigration to rural parts of the United States, which has increased dramatically over the past two decades. What, they asked local leaders, should — and could — their community do to welcome immigrants?”
Pew (PEW PEW PEW PEW PEW!): About a quarter of rural Americans say access to high-speed internet is a major problem. “Fast, reliable internet service has become essential for everything from getting news to finding a job. But 24% of rural adults say access to high-speed internet is a major problem in their local community, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year.”
Imagining America: Climate Change and the Stories We Tell: The Making of a Collaborative Digital Archive in Rural Maine. “Climate change is one of the most important issues facing humanity. But the very nature of this phenomenon—the physical and temporal scale at which it plays out, the specificity of the scientific language often used to describe it, and the complex set of interests already shaping this discourse—make it a difficult phenomenon to discuss. Scientific papers about climate change tend to be jargon-heavy and largely incomprehensible to the general public. Meanwhile, apocalyptic narratives like those popularized in film and fiction often foster fear, despondency, and withdrawal from the civic sphere (Swyngedouw 2010). Journalistic attempts to cover the topic in a newsworthy manner often end up sounding repetitive, as each month leads to the shattering of yet another climate-related record. Finally, climate change is a deeply polarizing issue, with ‘believers’ and ‘nonbelievers’ often splitting along party lines (Stoknes 2015). The question remains: How can we communicate ongoing environmental transformations in a manner that is engaging and factually accurate, urgent and memorable, pointed and capable of speaking to people of varied political persuasions?”
The Library of Congress has added the Montana Folklife Survey Collection. “The collection consists of approximately 145 sound recordings, 10,500 photographs; and 3 ½ linear feet of manuscripts that document interviews with Montanans in various occupations including ranching, sheep herding, blacksmithing, stone cutting, saddle making, and mining; various folk and traditional music occasions including fiddle and mandolin music in Forsyth….”
DigitalNC has created a new archive for architecture in Transylvania county, a county in the North Carolina mountains.
“The exhibit, Transylvania: The Architectural History of a Mountain County, features nearly 1,500 images taken during an architectural survey done of the county in the early 1990s. Architectural surveys are inventories of built, intact structures in a given area. These images document structures and communities in Brevard, Rosman, Lake Toxaway, Cedar Mountain, Pisgah Forest, and other areas. The County was founded in 1861 as an agricultural community, which is evident through the survey. Hundreds of images depict homes, barns, spring houses, smokehouses, chicken houses, silos, and many other structures that reflect the activities and roots of the rural community.”