recommended reading

Lawmaker: Public Libraries Can Boost American Innovation


President-elect Donald Trump's technology agenda is largely opaque, but at least one member of Congress has a message for his administration: ideas for cutting-edge technology often comes from the grassroots.

“Innovation may have a national or even global impact but like politics, the process of innovation is inherently local,” Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., said during an Information Technology and Innovation Foundation event on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. The government needs to think of creative ways to “provide resources to the innovators ... across the country," he added.

Lujan advocated for establishing maker-spaces in public libraries, potentially outfitting them with small-scale manufacturing equipment such as 3-D printers, that are accessible to businesses, researchers and the nearby community. Because public libraries already exist across America, "including the rural parts, where we still don’t have bandwidth capacity," they could become hubs for technological development outside Silicon Valley, he said.

» Get the best federal technology news and ideas delivered right to your inbox. Sign up here.

Lujan, who co-founded the House Technology Transfer Caucus, singled out this and a few other innovation-themed recommendations for Trump's administration mentioned in a report from the ITIF and the Brookings Institution.

He also advocated for creating an Energy Department-based nonprofit that could dole out funds to transition technology out of federal research labs and into the marketplace. Lujan said he's working on legislation that would encourage Energy to promote partnerships with local economic development groups including maker-spaces.

Other specific recommendations mentioned in the report include encouraging student entrepreneurship and increasing research and development tax credit generosity.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats


Close [ x ] More from Nextgov

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.