Currently approximately 55 tribal libraries exist in Alaska. This is based on Alaska State Library records and IMLS awards in recent years (there is no Alaska definition for tribal libraries). Tribal Libraries that are part of a Tribal College or university remain ineligible for E-rate support ( FCC 22-8 # 10).
Alaska has 93 public libraries that meet the Alaska statutory definition of a public library. They range in size from the Anchorage Public Library, with an urban area of almost 300,000, to the Lake Minchumina Community Library, with a year-round population of 19. Public libraries that are a part of a college or university library also remain ineligible for E-Rate support at this time.
There is some overlap between public and tribal libraries because some public libraries (22%) have been designated as tribal libraries by their local tribal entity. Remote and rural communities may have 55-98% Alaska Native residents. So, many smaller public libraries (36%) and all tribal libraries serve predominantly Alaska Native communities.
Interested in Applying for E-rate discounts on Tribal Library Broadband?
The FCC Tribal Library webpage can be found at: fcc.gov/tribal-libraries
The FCC, in February 2022 released an order (FCC 22-8) clarifying tribal library eligibility and allowing Tribal Libraries to certify themselves through a tribal resolution. Any Tribal Resolution creating a tribal library must include the following:
- have a physical space for the library (which may or may not be share with other tribal space),
- provide regularly scheduled hours of when the library is open to the public,
- provide staff to the library, and
- provide materials for the public.
The other route to recognition as a Tribal Library is via the Alaska State Library. The Alaska State Librarian can certify any tribal library as eligible for E-rate if it meets the following criteria: The library must:
- share resources free of charge with other libraries in Alaska,
- have a regular schedule of library services,
- have a dedicated facility for library purposes,
- have an established history of providing library services and programs, and
- have an annual budget with funds allocated for library materials and services.
If you would like to explore becoming a tribal library, the Alaska State Library is there to help. The Tribal Library webpage at the Alaska State Library can get you started! Go to:https://lam.alaska.gov/alaska-tribal-libraries
Alaska Tribal Spectrum is tribal non-profit in Alaska that was awarded 2.5GHz spectrum from the FCC to get wireless broadband connection. It is an outgrowth of the coming together of Alaska tribal entities who formed the Alaska Tribal Network and applied to the FCC for spectrum. ATN is statewide and Tribally governed and has the mission to create last mile wireless networks in every Alaska Community.