State libraries to explore strategic use of AI around workforce development.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The Gigabit Libraries Network(GLN) today announced its participation in Project SLAAIT. The State Libraries and AI Technologies Working Group is a joint project of 14 state libraries to understand the opportunities, challenges, and risks associated with AI and the library sector.

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already profoundly changed the way people find information, communicate, produce media, and learn about the world. AI will continue to change work; from automation in manufacturing, to how energy is distributed across a smart grid, to the use of generative AI to produce marketing, the workforce of our states will change,” according to the SLAAIT web site.

The project is being presented today at a session of Libraries in Response, the Gigabit Library Network’s four year-long web series on how libraries have responded to not only the Covid-19 crisis but to an ongoing set of crises since. “It’s been nonstop. A veritable cascade of crises: health, social, economic, political, overarching climate and now AI. All challenging librarians’ abilities to rapidly adapt service models,” says Don Means, GLN Director.

“Having the Gigabit Libraries Network as a partner in project ensures the impact of SLAAIT. Being able to learn from and connect to librarians through Libraries in Response is an amazing resource moving forward,” says Project Lead, R. David Lankes, Virginia & Charles Bowden Professor of Librarianship at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information.

Participating state library agencies to date are from: Texas, Georgia, Iowa, New Jersey, Colorado, Washington, Hawaii, Delaware, New York, North Carolina, Arizona, Tennessee, Michigan and Ohio. Participation remains open and more states are anticipated to join. “It feels like we are at another seminal crossroads in libraries and access to information. David, Don and SLAAIT are perfect partners to lead the team,” says Jennifer Nelson, New Jersey State Librarian.

Following the release of a federal executive order in October, an increasing number of state governments are also proposing or implementing new regulations and guidelines for the use of AI. This is creating a demand for strategic response from the state library agencies. “We’re so appreciative of Don and David’s leadership to ensure that Delaware Libraries, and all libraries,
can continue to stay ahead of the curve as technology evolves!” says Dr. Annie Norman, State Librarian of Delaware.

Based in Sausalito, CA, the Gigabit Libraries Network operates as an open collaboration of tech savvy, innovation libraries cooperating as a distributed global testbed/showcase environment for high performance applications and equipment in the service of educational, civic and cultural objectives.