Digital literacy initiatives within local libraries are imperative to helping our patrons create and upload resumes, sign up and use email to communicate with friends and family, download an app to get a ride to the airport, create and edit a presentation to share at work, search for a new doctor online, create a movie to complete a school project, communicate with a computer technician when their device has issues, and so much more.
Posts Tagged ‘Digital Literacy’
Public library policy in the United States is largely localized, with each of more than nine thousand public libraries and public library systems setting their own operational and service policies. Still, public libraries across the country operate in many of the same ways, and US public library services for teens exhibit many shared practices and emerging service trends. In thinking about the future of US public library services to teens, it is helpful first to consider the historic ways in which public libraries have served their communities.
If confirmed, this will be a tremendous first for female librarians and librarians of color.
Sameer Siruguri is passionate about coding and computer science. And he wants to share his passion with everybody—especially those who are underserved in the technology industry. “My passion is to bridge barriers for beginners in the tech world, and provide some guided explorations of intro topics that will help answer questions like—where should I get started, and is this tech work something I like?” said Siruguri, the co-founder of Digital Strategies, a technical consulting agency.
If you are a library patron lacking Internet in your home, have no fear—many public libraries across the country are teaming up with cell phone providers like Sprint and Verizon to offer library hotspots for checkout. These hotspot devices can be checked out for an allotted period of time designated by participating public libraries. Unsure about what a hotspot is? Well, the Chicago Public Library has defined a library Wi-Fi hotspot as “a device you can use to connect a mobile-enabled device, such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet, to the Internet. The hotspot is portable, so you can connect your device almost wherever you are, like at home, on the bus or in the park.” In a world filled with endless technology, public libraries once again prove that they can continue being relevant in a world deeply embedded in a technological revolution that once “threatened” to put public libraries out of business for good.
The 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey marks twenty years of data collection about the Internet and public libraries. The study is conducted annually by the American Library Association and the University of Maryland’s Information Policy & Access Center. This year’s results showed consistent trends in the increase of public technology service offerings in U.S. public libraries. Some key findings include:
*Virtually all libraries (98 percent) offer free public Wi-Fi access—in 1994 only 21 percent offered public Internet access;
*Close to 90 percent of libraries offer basic digital literacy training, and a significant majority support training related to new technology devices (62 percent), safe online practices (57 percent), and social media use (56 percent);
*Seventy-six percent of libraries assist patrons in using online government programs and services;
*The vast majority of libraries provide programs that support people in applying for jobs (73 percent), access and using online job opportunity resources (68 percent), and using online business information resources (48 percent);
*More than 90 percent of public libraries offer e-books, online homework assistance (95 percent), and online language learning (56 percent).
The boxes of federal and state tax forms that once crowded our library during tax season may be a “printed” memory. In November, the IRS informed participants that the Tax Forms Outlet Program will be decreasing their quantity of tax instructions, forms, and publications. This reduction is due to the fact that 95 percent of taxpayers E-filed in 2014.
The senior citizen population has been hit the hardest by this tax-form cutback. Some senior citizens are not comfortable with this level of technology, and if the IRS eventually scraps the Tax Forms Outlet Program, how will they file their taxes? Although the number of tax forms has not decreased that exorbitantly, they are only sending out three of the 1040 instructions, and those will be allotted to “reference use.” At our library, we charge patrons after the first five copies, and even a double-sided tax booklet could add up to be $5.
The New York Public Library, along with the City of New York, is bringing low-income New Yorkers out of the “digital dark” with free internet access at home. The New York Public Library, partnering with Sprint, decided to improve access for its patrons by lending out hotspots, which are essentially mobile devices that transmit a wireless signal
Public libraries in Kentucky are supplying more people with computer and Internet access than ever before and, by doing so, are helping Kentuckians obtain 21st century jobs.
Matt Enis’ “Meet the Tabletarians” discusses different libraries that have incorporated tablets into their everyday work life. While many have tried to use them as a roving reference accessory, others have found tablets to be most beneficial and effective for special projects such as story time or other youth service events
The Internet is a necessity for not just checking email or research, but also for applying for jobs, learning new technological skills, and gaining confidence. If a person is unable to have broadband access at home, it is all the more imperative that their local library have sufficient access to not only bridge the gap in the digital divide, but also in digital literacy.
If you are like me, you probably ignore the emails from Facebook, Instagram, and other social media sites updating users about new privacy policies. With recent news about Verizon and AT&T tracking users with supercookies and the data breaches across retail chains, it seems like we cannot escape companies and their invasion of our privacy. Recently, I took a quick look at that Facebook email and noticed something interesting. Part of the email read, “You can opt out of seeing ads on Facebook based on the apps and sites you use through the Digital Advertising Alliance. You can also opt out using controls on iOS and Android. When you tell us you don’t want to see these types of ads, your decision automatically applies to every device you use to access Facebook.”
If you’ve never written a proposal, be prepared, you’ll probably be tasked with writing one at some point in your career. And if you’re able to skirt by the next 30 years without writing one, you’re probably doing something wrong.
The makerspace movement encompasses a wide berth from the basic to the high tech, and the free to the highly expensive. Determining what the library can afford, what it wants to accomplish with its makerspace, how best to utilize its resources, and whether partners can be found to support these efforts is incredibly important.
It’s so easy to blame the machine, but is that why something didn’t work properly? Could it be operator error? How can you decide whose fault it is?