As you may have recently read in State Librarian Gloria Meraz’s recent Director’s Report blog post, TSLAC has begun work on a number of historic initiatives to meet the digital equity needs of Texans. One that requires your assistance most importantly is a study to better understand digital literacy in Texas public libraries entitled Texas Public Libraries: Serving Communities to Enhance Digital Literacy.
Yesterday, Gloria sent out an email to all public library directors inviting them to watch their inbox for an invitation from our study partners, IC² Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. We are are so excited to do this work and we are thrilled to do this work in partnership with you.
The text of Gloria’s email is below. Please be aware the invitation email to participate will be send out this Friday, March 4, 2022. Please read to the bottom of Gloria’s email to get all the details.
We want to work with you to show the incredible value and role of libraries in supporting robust and meaningful information access in our communities. I am writing to request your participation in an important state research project that will examine digital literacy in Texas public libraries.
The work is being performed on behalf of the TSLAC by IC² Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. This project, Texas Public Libraries: Serving Communities to Enhance Digital Literacy, is made possible by funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provided by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The purpose of this study is to
- Collect data on the current practices of Texas public libraries in offering digital literacy training;
- Assess the barriers to, and necessary resources for, expanded training and support of community digital literacy;
- Develop cost estimates for enhancing digital literacy services;
- Document digital literacy collaborations between libraries and community partners such as schools, institutions of higher education, local workforce development boards, and chambers of commerce; and
- Identify areas of strength in digital literacy training and areas in need of support and programming.
We believe this research will provide much-needed, data-driven information to help us understand and communicate the work of libraries in this area of digital literacy; identify and articulate areas of need; and aid local and state stakeholders in assessing the impact and potential of this work. We expect the report and findings to be completed by the end of this summer, and we will make the information available to the public.
We need your help and participation! Let me stay that again: we need your voice, experience, and stories to help us document and share the role of libraries in this critical area.
On Friday, March 4, some of you will receive an email from Maclain Scott (email@example.com) from the University of Texas at Austin. This email is a request for interviews and will have the subject line: Texas Public Library Digital Literacy Interview Request. Should you be one of the librarians selected, I urge you to participate in this first data-gathering exercise, especially if you have an existing program focused on digital literacy or if you have particular needs you want to share. Researchers will follow up later in March with a survey instrument to many of you, as well.
With many new funding sources for technology projects, infrastructure, and digital equity activities (which includes digital literacy), we want to ensure that TSLAC and your library are positioned with the data and assessment needed to move forward to best support our communities.
Thank you so much for what you do! And thank you in advance for participating in this important research.
All my best,