Celebrating MOREnet 30 Years: The REAL Program

  • Published: Wednesday, June 30, 2021

After a whirlwind first few years connecting higher education and starting to connect K-12 schools in phases, MOREnet began working with the Missouri State Library (part of the Missouri Secretary of State’s office) to develop a new statewide library network. In 1994, REAL was born, and Missouri became one of the first states to request pricing for a statewide network consortium for libraries.

A year later, in 1995, the Missouri Secretary of State secured funding for shared online resources available to the entire MOREnet community. EBSCO was MOREnet’s first online resource provider. There have been some changes in vendors and types of resources available, but EBSCO still provides the majority of the online resources. EBSCO provided additional resources with its purchase of LearningExpress Library a few years ago.

The Missouri State Library secured funding through House Bill 12 in FY13 for HeritageQuest. HeritageQuest is a genealogy database that all members use.

These databases support the academic research of higher education students and faculty as well as provide educational resources to K-12. They also provide general research, literacy and genealogy materials.

Today, through the REAL program, public libraries receive discounts on Internet access and membership services that provide training, networking and cybersecurity consulting services, all vital resources in keeping libraries relevant in the 21st century and helping Missourians level the playing field for online participation, educational research tools, job searching and career development.

As proven again during the COVID-19 pandemic, digital literacy is an important skill to continue to develop in the world we live in today. With more Missourians connected than ever before, MOREnet is proud to work with and support our members to prepare and enable Missourians to safely and effectively navigate and leverage the digital world that connectivity enables.

As we celebrate MOREnet’s 30th year, we also applaud the REAL program’s 27th anniversary. We are grateful for the access to Internet services and educational tools it has provided to all Missouri citizens.