Guide to National Digital Literacy and Digital Divide Initiatives

Apple II
Apple II By Marcin Wichary

Earlier this year the Chief Officers of State Library Associations (COSLA) released the “COSLA Guide to National Projects: to Digital literacy, Broadband Adoption,and Digital Inclusion“. They have done a great job of bringing together projects that address digital literacy and the digital divide.

The report outlines the summary, core objectives, administration information, and project details including target audience milestones and deliverable. If you are interest in national (US) digital literacy and divide efforts it is a great resource.

Programs included:

  • ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy Digital Literacy Task Force -The task force is charged with looking at digital literacy training activities across school, public, and academic libraries to understand the needs of librarians, the types of programming offered, and the role the libraries play in their communities.
  • Broadband Technology Opportunities Program: Broadband Adoption Toolkit– A free collection of best practices in outreach, training, curriculum, and home broadband access based on the experience of BTOP grantees. Practical tools and tips for program implementation.
  • Building Digital Communities: Pilot – Building Digital Communities: Pilot is a project in supporting and documenting the work of ten pilot communities to increase the access and use of digital technologies. This work is based upon Building Digital Communities: A Framework for Action created by IMLS, the University of Washington and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). In order to further the knowledge base of how communities become more digitally inclusive, we are posting lessons learned and digital inclusion planning resources. Each of the ten pilot communities is represented by a coalition of a library, a local government and a community-based organization.
  • Comcast Internet Essentials– Bring low-cost internet service, a computer, and training to families with at least one child receiving free or reduced price school lunches. Internet Essentials is available to qualified households in Comcast service areas.
  • Connect2Compete – Connect2Compete has two main pillars – a national ad campaign, Everyone On to ensure that all Americans have access to free digital literacy training and to educate and promote discounted internet and computer devices for low income families.
  • Digital Learning Center – The Digital Learning Center from The Public Library Association is an online hub for digital literacy support and resources for libraries and other community organizations. This project is being funded with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in conjunction with COSLA and ALA OITP. The site will include self-directed tutorials for end-users as well as resources and a community of practice for digital literacy support providers and trainers
  • Digital Literacy and Broadband Adoption grant from IMLS – OCLC is operating a planning program that engages the  state library agencies of Illinois, Mississippi and West Virginia in an exploration of state and public library capacity to strengthen and contribute to national partnerships that promote broadband adoption. The activities will allow public and state libraries to (1) understand and influence public awareness campaigns for national broadband adoption, (2) connect and align their expertise and capacity with broadband adoption initiatives, including resources that may be established by Connect2Compete, and (3) prepare to meet increased public demand by expanding digital literacy services and by leveraging national training and digital content resources. A final product of the grant work will be recommendations for how public and state libraries can effectively play an integral role in national digital inclusion and broadband adoption efforts and a guidebook of resources and information to support state libraries.
  • – is an online portal designed to share and enhance the tools necessary to learn computer and Internet skills. The portal’s goal was to be an aid in creating a learning society in a global economy.
  • Edge Initiative –  is an effort driven by a coalition of leading and local government organizations to develop public access technology benchmarks for public libraries. Edges helps library staff understand best practices in public access technology services and communicate the value of these services to community leaders.
  • IMPACT Survey – an online tool that will make the “Opportunity for All” survey instrument available to all public libraries to use for data collection with their online and public access technology users. The tool will allow libraries to easily link to the online survey, deliver it to their patrons, and immediately download the analyzed results in a variety of useful reports, presentations, and handouts. Libraries will also be able to download their full survey results if they wish to do additional analysis. State libraries will have access to the aggregate data from their states, as well as special reports designed for their purposes. This project will fuel enhanced evaluation and advocacy efforts in public libraries by allowing them an easy to way to find out how their patrons are using library technology and the impact of that use on patrons and the community.
  • Internet2 K20 Initiative – As part of Internet2’s U.S. UCAN effort, the National Internet2 K20 Initiative focuses on bringing together Internet2 member institutions and innovators from primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, libraries, and museums to explore the use of advanced networking enabled technologies, applications, middleware, and content to all educational sectors, as quickly and connectedly as possible. 
  • Internet2 U.S. Unified Community Anchor Network (U.S. UCAN) – s an Internet2 program working with regional research and education networks across the country to connect community anchor institutions, including schools, libraries, health care facilities and other public institutions, to advanced broadband capabilities. National Broadband Map – The National Broadband Map (NBM) is a searchable and interactive website that allows users to view broadband availability across every neighborhood in the United States.
  • The NBM was created by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and in partnership with 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. The NBM is part of NTIA’s State Broadband Initiative. The NBM is updated approximately every six months and was first published on February 17, 2011.
  • Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB Coalition) – Advocates for government programs and policies that allow community anchor institutions to obtain open, affordable, high-capacity broadband connections to the Internet.
  • The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities – ALA will partner with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation on the first phase of a multiphase initiative, The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities, which will develop a sustainable national plan to advance community engagement and innovation, and transform the role of libraries in their communities. During the grant period, ALA and the Harwood Institute will develop librarians as conveners and facilitators for their communities and create a pilot set of resource components designed to build the practice of community engagement in library service throughout the field. The goal of this first project phase is to create core communication materials for dissemination to the field, collaboratively create innovative strategies for community engagement, improve participating ALA leader and member access to strategies and resources for community engagement, and help participants feel better prepared to take on the role of community facilitator. More than 350 librarians will take part in a range of professional development activities planned during the grant period. The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities is one of ALA President Maureen Sullivan’s key initiatives.

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