TSLAC Celebrates Broadband Across Texas Week and the Digital Literacy Efforts of Texas Libraries
Wednesday, July 31, 2013 • Austin, TX • News Release
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is joining with the Texas Connects Coalition (TXC2) to celebrate the second annual Broadband Across Texas Week, June 23-29. This week aims to help Texans gain valuable digital literacy skills and learn about free computer and Internet access at local public computer centers across the state. The theme is “Learn. Click. Do.”
Libraries are on the front lines of digital inclusion and digital literacy efforts. Nearly every Texas library offers free access to computers and the internet, and increasingly they are also providing computer classes, one-on-one help with email, and e-reader/gadget assistance. TSLAC encourages the public to visit their local libraries during Broadband Across Texas Week and to take advantage of the free public computing services available there.
“TSLAC’s statewide library programs strive to help Texas libraries better serve their patrons through Internet connectivity and technology,” said Deborah Littrell, director of the agency’s Library Development and Networking Division. “We’re proud to support Broadband Across Texas Week.”
TSLAC is also proud of the 38 Texas libraries participating in the agency’s Technology, Expertise, Access and Learning for all Texans project (TEAL). Funded by the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, TEAL aims to close the “digital divide” among disadvantaged Texans so all residents can learn, work and prosper. To that end, TEAL has upgraded public computing and technology training capacity at 154 sites across Texas, mostly libraries but including community colleges, recreation centers and health facilities. Since August 2010, the project has added more than 2,124 computers, upgraded internet connectivity at 56 sites, and established new computer centers in Houston and Arlington, whose public library recently launched the TechLink Mobile Technology lab.
TEAL also provides free computer classes for Texans at more than 100 rural libraries via a mobile computer lab program staffed by TSLAC.
Broadband Across Texas Week events are scheduled to take place daily in Austin, Houston, San Antonio and communities in rural Texas. Some public computer centers will present special courses, such as creating electronic copies of important documents and photos in case of a disaster, and using Skype to place web-based calls to friends and family members in other parts of the country or aboard.
For a list of participating sites in each of the above cities, visit the TXC2 website: http://txc2.org/?page_id=2578
For more information on TEAL, including links to participating libraries and the mobile computer lab program, visit: http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/teal/index.html
Caption 1: Three male students at Rocksprings Elementary School in Rocksprings, Texas, use the computers at the Claud H. Gilmer Memorial Library on the first day they became available. Lisa Scroggins, the library director, said the boys told all their friends about the computers. “Those boys were the reason we went from 5 to 25 users a day,” Scroggins said. “It’s made a huge impact.”
Caption 2: Thanks to a partnership between Arlington Public Library and Arlington’s Parks & Recreation Department, new computer users can build their skills and realize the benefits of broadband at this computer center in Hugh Smith Recreation Center.
About the Texas Connects Coalition
Texas Connects Coalition (TXC2) is a collaborative project between Technology For All and Austin Free-Net. TFA is the recipient and manager of a grant for the project from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. With local community relationships, TXC2 provides computer and Internet access, training and more for Texans with limited access to digital opportunities in the Austin, Houston, San Antonio, central Texas and Brazos Valley regions. Get more information at www.txc2.org, www.austinfree.net or www.techforall.org.