Tilson Guides Maine State Library in Support of Statewide Digital Literacy Effort

Today’s libraries aren’t just a place with books, magazines and movies that you can check out. They’re also a resource center for job searchers, seniors and businesses that need high-speed Internet connectivity and tools they can’t find elsewhere.

Challenge

When the Maine State Library received a $1.36 million grant from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), meeting program mission goals meant finding a project manager who could lead vendor vetting and selection, select products, and expertly coordinate the technology roll out.

The BTOP is an approximately $4 billion grant program designed to help bridge the technological divide, create jobs, and improve education, health care, and public safety in communities across the country.

The grant supports the Maine Public Library Information Commons Project in the Public Computer Centers, which has three primary goals:

  • Increase the number of computers and workstations available to the public
  • Establish video conferencing regional hubs that are open to businesses and other entities
  • Provide training and online learning resources to librarians so they can assist users

Executing on government grants requires both a good plan and attention to grant compliance in procurement reporting, and record keeping.

Solution

Tilson has a strong track record helping local, state, and federal agencies execute on infrastructure projects. The Maine State Library engaged Tilson to assist with the RFP, grant compliance and reporting after getting to know the company through Tilson’s management of a $32MM fiber project serving libraries under the same federal program.

Tilson’s project management services started with developing a comprehensive RFP. The group managed delivery scheduling and coordination with hardware vendors for configuration and troubleshooting. Project management also included aligning the overall project goals with the Maine State Library and other Maine BTOP recipients and partners.

By the end of the program, the Maine State Library and Tilson installed a total of 565 desktop and laptop computers to 107 public libraries and established 11 new video conferencing regional hubs. Once the computers were deployed and configured, Tilson trained library staff so they could better help visitors.

Old Fashioned and New Fangled Communications

In a project with so many moving parts, communication is key to keeping on schedule and within budget. Tilson made that happen by blending old-fashioned diligence and attention to detail with new communications tools such as Basecamp and MS Project. Tilson’s communications included reporting required by the government to ensure that the full value of the grant is realized and mission outcomes are fulfilled.

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