SHLB Welcomes Columbus Metropolitan Library, Sherpa Fiber, Virginia Society for Technology in Education as Newest Members
September 05, 2018


For Immediate Release

Alicja Johnson
(202) 261-6599

Washington, DC (September 5, 2018) -The Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband (SHLB) Coalition welcomed the Columbus Metropolitan Library, Sherpa Fiber, and the Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) as its newest members today. With the addition of these and other new members throughout the month of August, SHLB has grown to nearly 150 members.  SHLB’s membership growth continues to amplify its voice as an advocate for community anchor institution (CAI) broadband.

"These three organizations all have SHLB’s principles - particularly digital inclusion - at the heart of their missions,” said John Windhausen Jr., Executive Director of the SHLB Coalition. “The Columbus Metropolitan Library is a learning hub for students of all ages, with several programs that will inspire our other library members. Sherpa Fiber provides dark and leased lit
fiber and is committed to custom-building fiber networks to serve K-12 school districts. In addition to its work advancing education technology, VSTE’s network of educational professionals will be an invaluable resource to our members.”

The SHLB Coalition formed in 2009 to address the shortage of adequate broadband for schools, libraries, health care providers, and other CAIs. While most broadband advocacy groups focus on residential connectivity, SHLB and its members view open, affordable, high-quality broadband access for CAIs as a cornerstone of community infrastructure. For those who lack broadband access at home, visiting their local library is often the only way to access the Internet.

“At Columbus Metropolitan Library, we believe broadband internet access is a right for all, not a privilege for a select few,” said Patrick Losinski, CEO of Columbus Metropolitan Library. “Providing access throughout our communities – particularly those most at-risk – is critical to closing the technology gap and ensuring a more level playing field. We are proud to stand with SHLB in helping to realize our vision of a thriving community where wisdom prevails.”

SHLB’s advocacy helps schools and libraries obtain affordable broadband through the E-rate program. SHLB recognizes that commercial and nonprofit broadband providers are essential to solving the broadband gap for anchor institutions.  Broadband providers and E-rate consultants enable school representatives to find the right connection for their institution, and SHLB’s Annual Conference in October helps to facilitate these connections and promotes a deeper understanding of the latest changes in the E-rate program.

“We are excited about joining the SHLB Coalition and look forward to doing our part to further SHLB's mission by bringing affordable, high-capacity broadband networks to K-12 school districts across the United States,” said Darren Bonawitz, CEO of Sherpa Fiber. "When a student is connected with the right pathways to success, you can create an impact that alters the course of their life. That connection begins with a robust wide-area network that scales to unlock digital learning while remaining within financial reach of school districts.”

Education technology is integral to a modern-day education, yet a sizable number of schools lack the broadband connection necessary to successfully deploy such innovations. On behalf of its members, SHLB works with the Federal Communications Commission, the Universal Service Administrative Company, and other agencies at different levels of government to improve schools’ broadband access to the Internet.

“The Virginia Society for Technology in Education joined SHLB because their mission to bring broadband to every community is an important part of our work as well,” said Dr. Karen Work Richardson, Executive Director of VSTE. “We are working in a variety of ways to extend connectivity and looking forward to working with SHLB to advocate at state and federal levels for policies that support this vision.”

The Internet has become a cornerstone of American life, learning and economic growth. It is the key infrastructure that anchors need to provide 21st-century education, information, and health services to the public. To learn more about the SHLB Coalition and membership, visit


About SHLB:
The SHLB Coalition is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) advocacy organization that supports open, affordable, high-quality broadband connections for anchor institutions and their surrounding communities. The SHLB Coalition is based in Washington, DC and has a diverse membership of commercial and non-commercial organizations from across the United States.  To learn more, visit

About Columbus Metropolitan Library:
Columbus Metropolitan Library has served the people of Franklin County, Ohio since 1873. With its Main Library and 22 branches, CML is well known for signature services and programs like Homework Help Centers, Reading Buddies, Summer Reading Club and Ready for Kindergarten. The library’s Strategic Plan supports the vision of “a thriving community where wisdom prevails,” which positions CML to respond to areas of urgent need: kids unprepared for kindergarten, third-grade reading proficiency, high school graduation, college and career readiness and employment resources. To learn more, visit

About Sherpa Fiber:
Sherpa Fiber delivers leased lit and leased dark fiber wide area networks (WANs) that are custom designed so K-12 school districts can grow minds and not network costs by realizing the maximum benefit from the FCC’s 2014 E-rate Modernization Order. These multiple dedicated pair wide area networks (WANs) are E-rate Category 1 eligible and cost-effectively solve digital learning challenges K-12 school districts across the country are facing. Visit or contact us at to learn more about how Sherpa Fiber is eliminating K-12 learning obstacles with our networks for the next generation.

About Virginia Society for Technology in Education:
VSTE is the premier professional development and advocacy organization for educators in Virginia. The Virginia Society for Technology in Education (VSTE) was founded in 1986 as the Virginia Educational Computing Association and is Virginia’s affiliate of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). In addition, VSTE is the Virginia state chapter for CoSN.
VSTE’s mission is to promote excellence in education through professional development endeavors supporting the integration of existing and emerging technologies. To learn more, visit

back to shlb news