Two free online training programs to advance digital inclusion

The Texas State Library and Archives Commission invites your library to participate in a new peer-learning program from January 2022 to June 2022. This program is designed to build public libraries’ capacity and skill to collect, analyze, and communicate data and demonstrate the vital role of public libraries in advancing digital equity in their communities. Participation is free for public libraries in Texas. Registration is open until January 7, 2022.
 
Your library can participate in one or both tracks: 

  • Digital Inclusion Action Cohort: This peer-learning cohort will support library staff in measuring and planning digital inclusion programs and services. Libraries will attend a series of workshops over a six-month period. The series includes defining digital equity, understanding broadband access, determining device access and assessing digital literacy. 
  • Data Fluency Cohort: This peer-learning cohort will support library staff in deepening their understanding of data and data-informed decision-making. Libraries will attend a series of workshops over a six-month period. The series includes an introduction to data fluency, collecting, understanding, and using community, library and program data, and communicating data. Libraries will be presented with an opportunity to use other Edge features later in the program. 

Reserve your spot in one or both of these cohort tracks today!

Interested in learning more? Join us on Wednesday, December 1, 2022, from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. for a live online information session.

Questions? Contact Cindy Fisher, Digital Inclusion Consultant at cfisher@tsl.texas.gov or Lourdes Aceves, Director of Edge, at laceves@urbanlibraries.org.

Libraries Lead with Digital Skills – Resources and Grants for Public Libraries

State Librarian Mark Smith addressed participants at a local Grow with Google event at the Austin Public Library.

Libraries Lead with Digital Skills is an initiative of ALA and PLA, sponsored by Google, to ensure that public libraries across the nation receive ongoing access to free tools and resources to help everyone across America grow their skills, careers, and businesses.

Find a free suite of training, tools, and resources to help you assist your patrons grow to their skills, career, or business at https://grow.google/

Launched in 2017, Grow with Google is an initiative to help create economic opportunities for all Americans and draws on a 20-year history of building products, platforms, and services that help people and businesses grow. Grow with Google aims to help everyone across America—those who make up the workforce of today and the students who will drive the workforce of tomorrow—access the best of Google’s training and tools to grow their skills, careers, and businesses.

  • Job seekers can grow their skills in order to find new jobs and advance their careers.
  • Startups can learn how to get their ideas the exposure they need to succeed.
  • Small business owners can build their online presence and find new customers.
  • Students and teachers can learn how to put the latest technology to work inside and outside of the classroom.

In addition to providing these free resources, ALA, Google and PLA are also offering grants to receive funding to assist you in providing this programming to your community. And now is time for you to act⁠—applications are now open until March 3, 2020 for funding from Libraries Lead with Digital Skills!

If your library is selected, you’ll receive funds  to host digital skills workshops for job seekers and small business owners in your community. Details on how to receive $1,000, application deadlines, and the application itself are available at the Libraries Lead website. Selected libraries will then have the opportunity to receive an additional $3,000. (Information on this second-stage award will be shared after the initial application.)

We strongly encourage all libraries to apply, as it will be a great opportunity to shine a spotlight on how you are supporting your community’s economic growth through digital skills training. Please feel free to pass this opportunity along to other libraries within your network!

HHH: Library Tech for Victory!

Logo for Henry's Hightech Highlights

Hi there, Henry here.This month’s High-Tech Highlight is a special edition for the new year. I wanted to share a fun project of mine where I took three World War II recruitment posters and updated them (via Photoshop) to help highlight some of the new technology roles that modern library staff should adopt today.

You Can Do I.T. logo

But first, some background: The inspiration for this project stemmed from a promotional graphic I created back in 2014 for TSLAC’s You Can Do I.T. (YCDIT) technology training program. For the workshop series’ logo, I updated the iconic Rosie the Riveter image from the World War II propaganda poster. Re-dubbing her “I.T. Heidi”, I made her a TSLAC shade of blue, gave her a library symbol badge, and modified her flexing arm to proudly show off an ethernet cable. For my co-worker Cindy Fisher, who spearheaded YCDIT, I fashioned an action figure to take on the road as a kind of mascot, and we had a lot of fun asking participants to flex their arm, hold up a cable, and strike the ‘Heidi Pose’ for our cameras.

Recently, I was remembering those experiences and how empowering the image of I.T. Heidi was, just like her grandmother Rosie. I began musing about similar ways to encourage library staff to embrace the new technology roles that the profession has been rapidly adopting. World War II recruitment posters, like Rosie’s, encouraged American women to join the war effort by becoming workers in munitions factories, and I wondered if the same patriotic messaging style could be updated for today’s library staff with regard to technology.

Below are three examples with this idea in mind. Note that the ones on the left are the original recruitment posters, and those on the right are my updated library tech versions.


On the left, original poster shows  WOW (Woman Ordnance Worker) holding drill and working in factory. Captions say "Do the job HE left behind" and "Apply U.S. Employment Service." On the right, new poster shows  librarian holding ipad in front of a computer monitor and working in a library. Captions say "Teach Tech" and "Your Country Needs You".

Poster # 1: Teaching technology is a patriotic duty

“Your Country Needs You.”

The Second World War necessitated the recruitment of courageous American women to roll up their sleeves and work in factories. Their contributions and service to the country are irrefutable. Although not to serve a war effort, modern library staff also need to become trailblazers and bravely step out of their comfort zones and take on work they haven’t traditionally been involved with. To ensure the vitality of the U.S. economy, there’s a need to provide American citizens of all ages opportunities to engage with STEM/STEAM programming as well as learn computer and coding skills. Libraries are crucial community partners in this effort and a great resource to support patrons in gaining the tech skills essential to future employment and civic participation. Think of it as a patriotic duty to teach technology.

Further reading on how libraries are currently teaching technology:


On the left, original poster shows  WOW (Woman Ordnance Worker) holding wrench and imagining a soldier in the clouds. Caption below says "The Girl He Left Behind is Still Behind Him. She's a WOW".  On the right, new poster shows determined librarian holding an ethernet cord and a copy of Diary of Wimpy Kid and imagining a family of kids in the clouds.  Caption below says "Get 'em to read, Get 'em high speed."

Poster # 2: Broadband is a library service equal to books

“Get ’em to read, get ’em high speed”

Improving the literacy of a community is a cornerstone of what libraries do, and it always will be. Libraries should unashamedly continue to be buildings filled with books, and library staff should be motivated to put those books in people’s hands to read. Humanity’s future relies on it. But there’s something new added to this already successful, civilization-saving mix that can’t be denied: broadband

For my second poster, I decided to start with the traditional image of a library staff member gripping a gateway book (in my case: “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”) and gazing with determined purpose at a group of youth with whom she hopes to foster a life-long love of reading. Then I added an ethernet cable to her other hand to give it equal weight in her objective. Providing free high speed Internet has become an important and critical service for libraries. The Homework Gap is preventing children who lack adoption of broadband at home to succeed in school. Libraries act as bridges, reaching across the divide to connect patrons to the information and services they need, even if it means providing a safe, Internet-connected place to get their homework done. Literacy now takes many forms: digital, media, information, etc. And libraries can boost their signal strength out into their communities in more ways than one.

Further reading on how libraries are getting folks high speed Internet access, and what they can do with it:


On the left, original poster shows determined WOW (Woman Ordnance Worker) with bomb shell in front of her and a graphic showing the different hats of the various wartime roles. Caption below says "She's a WOW". On the right, new poster shows determined librarian with WiFi modem in front of her and a graphic showing symbols of different crises (hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, social unrest). Caption below says "Libraries Respond and Provide Refuge".

Poster # 3: Disaster Response

“Libraries respond and provide refuge”

When disasters, emergencies, and other crises strike, libraries stand strong in their communities as anchor institutions to provide immediate support. Besides acting as safe spaces for people to share news and resources, they are trusted curators of authoritative, often life-saving, information. The free electricity, WiFi, and computer access can be a crucial life-line to those who need it, particularly disadvantaged populations. Libraries also connect the affected to essential services, helping them fill out e-government forms. They help alleviate confusion and disorientation and provide distractions and entertainment so community members can take the necessary steps toward recovery.

It’s also worth nothing that it’s not just in the event of disasters that libraries respond and provide refuge They’re fair weather friends, too, and like Elsa, cold never bothered them anyway.

Further reading on how libraries can develop disaster response:


I will leave you with one more bonus poster, riffing on the idea that libraries are so much more than places to get books; they’re also communities’ technology hubs.

On the left, original poster has women working for the war effort at home with caption "Soldiers without guns". On the right, new poster has smiling librarians holding ipad, ethernet cord, iphone and computer, with caption "Librarians without books"

Celebrate Digital Inclusion Week!

Last year, we celebrated digital inclusion week by releasing TSLAC’s Digital Inclusion Statement. This year, we want to encourage you to consider ways you’re helping your patrons connect with affordable technology once they leave the library.

For a quick recap, here’s are the five elements of digital inclusion according to the National Digital Inclusion Alliance:

  • affordable, robust broadband internet service
  • internet-enabled devices that meet the needs of the user
  • access to digital literacy training
  • quality technical support
  • applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation and collaboration.

Libraries are digital inclusion champions in ensuring that their patrons have access to these five essentials while they’re in the library, but what about when they leave the library? Many libraries have helped patrons bridge the internet service access and affordability gap by lending WiFi hotspots, while others accompany those hotspots with devices like laptops or tablets. But how can libraries go further?

Join the Arizona State Library’s Digital Inclusion Librarian and TSLAC’s Digital Inclusion Consultant for a short webinar entitled Affordable Tech: Discount Internet & Devices for Your Library Patrons to find out more.

Day: Monday, October 7, 2019
Time: 1:00 pm CST
Description: Public libraries have long been involved in providing access to the internet and to technology for their communities, but in today’s increasingly online world, patrons still need access after the library has closed. For low-income households and homes of residents aged 65 and older, one access barrier may be affordability of service, not only availability. Tune in to this informative webinar to learn about discount internet & device offers that are available for your library patrons. 

This webinar is a part of Digital Inclusion Week (October 7-11, 2019). DIW aims to raise awareness of solutions addressing home internet access, personal devices and local technology training and support programs. DIW2019 is sponsored by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance representing more than 350 affiliated organizations in 44 states working toward digital equity.

This is an Arizona State Library webinar so please register at
https://azsos.libcal.com/calendar/libdev/affordabletech




Choose Privacy Week is Here!

Image of two hands hugging a lock with a banner reading "inclusive privacy: closing the gap".

Choose Privacy Week Is Here!

Patron privacy and confidentiality are cornerstones of our profession, as explained in the Article 6 of ALA Library Bill of Rights. To highlight their importance, for one week each May, the American Library Association  “promotes the importance of individual privacy rights and celebrates libraries and librarians’ unique role in protecting privacy,” through Choose Privacy Week programming.

This year the programming is focusing on inclusiveness in privacy education and outreach. Much like how libraries are go-to resources for assisting community members affected by the digital divide — those without internet access or with lower levels of digital literacy —  libraries have an important role to play in assisting vulnerable members of our communities in helping protect their information. A recent editorial in the New York Times entitled “The Devastating Consequences of Being Poor in the Digital Age,” illustrates this in explicit detail.

There are numerous free resources to help both library staff and patrons understand the nuances of privacy, some of which are highlighted below. After exploring each resource, consider some ways you might implement these resources at your library. You’ll find a list of possibilities at the end of this post.

Resources:

  • Virtual Privacy Lab from San Jose Public Library
    This online resource cover privacy topics such as how the internet works, your information footprint, and online tracking in common sense language. Included at the end of each topic page is a short interactive survey which helps build a customized list of tools, apps, and resources for further investigation. Available in English, Español (Spanish) and Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Library Privacy Guidelines and Library Privacy Checklists from the American Library Association Library Privacy Guidelines “attempt to balance the need to protect reader privacy with the needs of libraries to collect user data and provide personalized services, while respecting and protecting the individual’s right to make their own informed decisions in regards to how much privacy they are willing to trade for convenience or added benefits.” The topics covered assist public, academic and school libraries with the foundation to review their current technology offerings with a critical eye toward privacy.  The Library Privacy Checklists are companion resources to the guidelines and assist library staff from all library sizes with implementing the guidelines based on priority and feasibility.
  • Digital Privacy & Security in the Library from NYC Digital Safety This is a suite of “seven online training modules that feature core concepts in data privacy and online security.” These modules focus on interactions between library staff and their patrons” and cover topics such as how Internet technologies transmit and receive information, how data is collected and shared, how to secure personally identifiable information, prevent tracking, avoid scams, and minimize our digital footprint to keep our data safe.  The modules include video, transcripts, short quizzes, and resources for follow-up.
  • Privacy & Security Resources from Mozilla
    As part of their Internet Health Report project, Mozilla (which produces the Firefox Internet browser) compiles a handy list of how-tos for everyday folks on how to make the Internet a healthier place so we can connect, learn, and grow safely. Their guide on Privacy & Security provides helpful tips and links on how to take back control of our apps and online account data through implementing strong passwords and data encryption.

How to Integrate These Resources
No step is too small in beginning the process of sharing this information with your patrons and your community. Here are some ideas of how to approach it:

  • Create a privacy page on your library’s website and promote it through your social media accounts.
  • Hold a workshop with library patrons using some of the tools and tips.
  • Highlight a few resources in an email to staff ahead of a staff meeting and then take a few short minutes to discuss once you’re all in person.
  • Integrate some of the privacy guidelines into your library policies and strategic plan.
  • Send out resources in your library’s newsletter.
  • Present these resources to your community partners, including workforce departments, schools and other non-profits to show them the library and its staff are proactive in thinking about their privacy.

Questions or comments? Contact Cindy Fisher, Digital Inclusion Consultant, at 512-463-4855 or cfisher@tsl.texas.gov.