Governer King Claims a First for Maine: Every Public School, Most Libraries and Private Schools Now Computerized & On Line

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

Media contacts:

Bell Atlantic-Maine

Peter Reilly


Bell Atlantic-North

John Johnson


Governor's office

Dennis Bailey


Dept. of Education

Ray Poulin


State Librarian

Gary Nichols


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 &

Library Network.

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

own schools."

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

telecommunications providers.

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






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

very grateful."

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

contemporary topics."

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

linked now."

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.

It's wonderful."

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

accommodate everyone."

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.