Governor King Claims a First for Maine: Every Public School, Most Libraries and Private Schools Now Computerized & On Line
Bell Atlantic Leads Creation of Maine School & Library Network
October 16, 1997
Dept. of Education
AUBURN, Maine -- Students are doing science projects and studying
the Constitution. Guidance counselors are tracking down financial aid.
Libraries are extending their hours and teachers are teaching other
teachers what technology can do.
People who've used it can't say enough about the Maine School &
Today, Maine Gov. Angus King announced a milestone for the project and
a first in the nation -- the linking of more than 1,000 sites to the
Internet, including 100 percent of Maine's K-12 public schools, most
public libraries and many private schools.
"This network is linking Maine students to unimagined knowledge and
information," King said today during a demonstration of the network at
Edward Little High School. "Now it's up to all of us - students,
parents, teachers and other leaders - to explore the full potential of
what this computer network can offer."
"Completion of the $20 million network marks not an end," King said,
"but a beginning. It's the beginning of an incredible journey in which
the educational resources of the world are literally at our
fingertips. We can all share the excitement in knowing that our state
is at the forefront of the new distance learning opportunities the
Maine School and Library Network provides."
The Maine School and Library Network is a high-speed
telecommunications system that links computers in all schools and
public libraries to one another, as well as to worldwide databases and
the Internet. The project is managed by Bell Atlantic and includes
subsidies for computer upgrades and free Internet access.
A year ago, only nine percent of Maine's public schools had access to
the Internet, compared with 50 percent of public schools across the
country. Today, 100 percent of Maine's schools are connected, compared
to 65 percent nationally.
In Jackman, Maine, a remote town near the Canadian border, students
are now tapping into NASA online to learn about science and space
exploration. Kids in Corrina now race to the public library after
school to be first to use this new resource.
"The level of excitement and creativity being generated by this new
learning tool is truly amazing," said Duke Albanese, Commissioner of
the Maine Dept. of Public Education. "Students in Maine now have the
powerful ability to explore all the wonders of the world from their
Gary Nichols, Director of Maine State Libraries, said, "Almost
overnight, we've given libraries of every size the same resources
previously available to only the largest institutions. At the same
time, we've opened the doors to these resources to every citizen in
The impetus for the Maine School and Library Network predates the
federal requirements of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It
resulted from a May 1995 decision by the Maine Public Utilities
Commission (PUC) allowing NYNEX, now Bell Atlantic, to become the
project leader in developing a five-year, $20 million plan to benefit
the state's public educational institutions.
Following the PUC's 1996 approval of the development plan, computers
were purchased and network connections were installed through
mid-1997. The Maine Department of Education, the Maine Library
Commission, the Maine Library Association, and the Maine Educational
Media Association have collaborated in the effort along with other
The network plan, led by Bell Atlantic, allows for various forms of
network connections, with the standard package consisting of 56
kilobit per second frame relay access to a statewide shared backbone
"In addition to offering high speed data connections to every school
and library in the state, Bell Atlantic also is providing each site
with training and support, free network and Internet software, and
free Internet accounts with e-mail," said Ed Dinan, Bell
Atlantic-Maine president and CEO. "We also funded grants of up to
$2,000 per site for those locations requiring upgraded or new computer
hardware. In addition, we are planning for the network to continue to
grow and evolve to more powerful high-speed telecommunications
"SO WHAT DO PEOPLE DO WITH THE
MAINE SCHOOL & LIBRARY NETWORK?
HOW DO THEY LIKE IT?"
BELL ATLANTIC-MAINE, OCTOBER 1997
Charlotte Elementary School (Charlotte), Ann Luginbuhl
"We are a small school, with just 48 kids, and this has opened up
the world for them. We have no library to speak of. Now the
world is their library. We're very, very happy -- you've really
made a difference."
Cony High School (Augusta), Fred Kahl
"By using the Internet the guidance office has found so much
financial aid for students that it has probably paid for the
equipment ten times over."
York Middle School (York), Ronnie Emery
"It's going really well -- the 5th through 8th grades are doing
projects for science fairs, oceanography, studying the
Constitution -- I could go on and on. We're completely networked
with 130 machines. We're thrilled."
Bass Harbor Memorial Library (Bernard), Fay Lawson.
"So many children are coming in ... it's wonderful. The
atmosphere is bustling. Library usage has increased. We are
Houlton High School (Houlton), Joe Inman
"Fantastic. Kids are lined up six-deep to use the computers."
Vose Library (Union), Lynn Allen
"Absolutely dynamite. Best thing that can happen to a little
library. The connection is invaluable. Now we can research
Dr. Lewis S. Libby School (Milford), Ellen Small
"Wonderful. Grades 6 through 8 are particularly wild about it.
Quality of research work they are doing is excellent. Teachers
love it ... and are teaching other teachers. All classrooms are
Forest Hills Consolidated School (Jackman), Nancy Paradise
"Can't say enough good about it. Students are on every hour of
the day. The project makes a world of difference to us, being
so far away from things. We had no idea how fast and excellent
it would be."
Stillwater Montessori School(Old Town), Joe Alex
"The kids are using it. They researched information about
countries. In the fall we held a mock Presidential debate with
information from the home pages of both parties."
Mountain View School (Sullivan), Lillian Brenton
"We can't say enough good about it. Students are enthusiastic
and we've pulled down tons of information. We're e-mailing with
a 4th grade class in Alaska."
Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library (Presque Isle), Marilyn Clark
"We've found reference information we never would have found.
This system is great."
Weld Elementary School (Weld), Sal Giacomazzo
"Things are going very well. All networks are up, both Macs and
PCs. Exceeding my expectations ... I'm surprised at what 56K can
do, sometimes 40 students are up at once, and it's fine. Support
has been great."
Calais High School (Calais), Mike Chadwick
"We now have to peel the kids off of the computers. It's been
super for the whole state."
Jonesport Beals High School (Jonesport), Colleen Haskell
"It's going great ... up-to-date research is now possible. All
students had a two-day workshop -- it's a great way to teach
everyone. Now have coverage in lab before and after school.
Raymond Village Library (Raymond), Sandy Levy (volunteer, not
"Things are going amazingly well. People crawling out of the
woodwork, Thirty volunteers trained. Teenagers signing up,
doing real work and cooperating with us. For 8-18 year olds, we
have their parents choose restricted or non-restricted access,
most are giving unrestricted."
Morse Memorial Library (Greene), Patricia Rose
"More and more youngsters are coming in. We appreciate it no
end. People are starting to say "I got it at the library on the
computer." Sad that so many people are still afraid of it. I
tell them to just come in and use it."
Soldiers Memorial Library (Hiram), Daniel Hester
"We now have two computers in use for the Internet and they're
always busy. We've opened the library a few extra hours to
Woodstock Elementary School (Bryant Pond), Bruce Bell
"Going very well. Already have a use policy. Putting the
schools and libraries together was very smart. Now we have a
better relationship between the Library Committee and the School
Board ... We're sharing resources and can make better use of them
through improved communications."
The new Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and
NYNEX - is at the forefront of the new communications, information and
entertainment industry. With 40 million telephone access lines and
5.5 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are
premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market
leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of
directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the
world's largest investors in high-growth global communications
markets, with operations and investments in 21 countries.