Emerging Technology Plan

Image courtesy of San Francisco Public Library (SFPL)

Introduction

I currently work as a solo Library Associate for the Knights Landing Library, as a part of Yolo County Library. While spending time in the Knights Landing community, I have become aware of various barriers community members face due to the isolated location of this rural community. One primary barrier is a lack of internet access for many households within Knights Landing. As a way to combat this obstacle, would be to introduce a Techmobile. A Techmobile will help narrow the digital divide that is affecting small rural communities and families living below the poverty line. This particular Techmobile will offer classes such as Basic Computer Skills, Social Media Basics, Internet Basics, Basic MS Office Applications, Basic Email, Basic Electronics, Intro to 3D Printing, Open Lab (PC or Mac), Coding for Kids, LEGO Robotics, and Library eResources. By introducing the new Techmobile to the Knights Landing community, I hope to see an increase in digital literacy among all community members as well as an increased presence at the actual Knights Landing Library once the public understands the types of assets that the public library can provide them.

Plan

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

  • Increase digital literacy in the Knights Landing community, where tech inequality is present.
  • Interest community members in visiting the Knights Landing Library after seeing all of the resources available at the Techmobile.
  • Bring awareness of the lack of technology available in rural communities.
  • Promote expanding Techmobiles throughout Yolo County Library.

Description of Community you wish to engage: I wish to engage with the Knights Landing community members and other rural community members throughout Yolo County so they are aware of the Techmobile and all that Yolo County Library offers.

Action Brief Statement: Convince Knights Landing community members that by utilizing the Techmobile and attending tech-ed classes they will become more knowledgeable of technology and technological resources which will allow community members to become more familiar with technology and enhance their digital literacy skills because they will feel confident when using the newest technology and reduce the digital divide impacting rural communities.

Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service: The East Yolo Library manager, East Yolo Library supervisor, and Yolo County Library Director will be involved in setting policies for the Techmobile and approve staff time when working on the Techmobile. Guidelines for the Techmobile will be determined by the Yolo County Library Policy Team. Example policies may be found by contacting the San Francisco Public Library and requesting the policies they implement on their Techmobile. The mission of the Techmobile will be to learn, explore, and engage with all community members. This mission will help ensure equitable access to technology for rural communities in Yolo County.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service: The Techmobile will be open Monday-Friday from 1-6pm and will have two Knights Landing Library staff members present on the Techmobile when it is open for public use. Bilingual staff members will be given priority when scheduling the Techmobile hours because the Knights Landing community are primarily Spanish-speakers. Salary will remain the same when library staff are working at the Knights Landing Library branch or working on the Techmobile. Funding for the Techmobile will be given by various state and local grants. 

Image courtesy of San Francisco Public Library (SFPL)

Action Steps & Timeline: 

Week 1 – Bring the Techmobile to the Knights Landing Library and begin a two-week course for all Knights Landing Library staff members and any administrative staff who is interested in learning more about the Techmobile. 

Week 2 – The second week of training for Knights Landing Library staff will allow staff members to role play and run mock tech-ed classes and ask any questions relating to the Techmobile.

Week 3 and on – Promotion of the Techmobile location as well as the tech-ed classes offered will be posted online and flyers will be printed and distributed throughout the Knights Landing community. A Techmobile open house will be held in front of the Knights Landing Library for all community members to come and visit. The Techmobile will be officially opened to the public on the scheduled dates and times.

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service: Two Knights Landing Library staff members will be scheduled to work on the Techmobile once it is open to the public and will run tech-ed courses as co-leaders for every course. Yolo County IT staff will also be available to answer any tech questions and support library staff working in the Techmobile. Knights Landing Library staff will work on flyers with information about Techmobile future locations and tech-ed course times. Flyers will be posted online and will be printed monthly for community members to be aware of upcoming tech-ed courses.

Training for this Technology or Service: One-day training for the Techmobile will be offered periodically throughout the year for staff members not working at the Knights Landing Library, but are interested in learning more about the technology offered in the Techmobile. All staff members working at the Knights Landing Library will receive a two week training within the Techmobile and will learn how to supervise and run each tech-ed course offered in the Techmobile. Training on how to successfully run the Techmobile will be given by San Francisco Public Library staff who already have a Techmobile available for their patrons.

Image courtesy of San Francisco Public Library (SFPL)

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service: Information about the Techmobile as well as a schedule of the location sites and tech-ed courses offered inside the Techmobile will be promoted on the Yolo County Library website, all Yolo County Library social media accounts, and paper flyers will be posted throughout the Knights Landing community for community members to be aware the Techmobile.

Evaluation: The Techmobile’s success or failure will depend on the number of Knights Landing community members visiting and signing up for free tech-ed courses offered within the Techmobile. Additionally, the increased number of patrons visiting the Knights Landing Library and opening library accounts after introducing the Techmobile will serve as evidence of success of the plan.

References

Stephens, M. (2008). Taming Technolust: Ten Steps for Planning in a 2.0 World. Retrieved from: https://tametheweb.com/2012/05/30/taming-technolust-ten-steps-for-planning-in-a-2-0-world-full-text/


 Stephens, M. (2019). Wholehearted Librarianship. ALA Editions.

Reflection #3: The importance of children and public libraries

Kenosha Public Library

Throughout the various readings in Module 6, there were quite a few articles that emphasized the importance of public libraries in today’s communities. Within one particular article, it stated that, “deeper connections with public libraries are often associated with key life moments such as having a child” (Pew Research Center, 2014). As families with children begin taking advantage of public libraries, it is our duty as librarians to engage with these particular patrons, ensure that all feel welcomed into the library, and advocate for children’s programming within the library.

This push to provide free services and resources to families with children is of utmost importance to those in the field of librarianship. Programs such as, “Mother Goose on the Loose” or “Tales for Tails” offer children and parents an opportunity to interact with other families while reading, singing, playing, and dancing. The underlying effect of such programs allow children and parents to understand how important early literacy is to every child.

Library Tales for Tails | Reading to the Dogs | York County Libraries
Tales for Tails Program

The general public has shared interests with public libraries when it comes to early literacy and children’s centers in libraries. A recent Pew Research Center statistic showed that, “85% of Americans say libraries ‘should definitely’ coordinate more closely with local schools. And 82% believe libraries should provide free literacy programs to young children, which may include traditional reading, writing and comprehension as well as technology and new media literacies” (2014). Today, many public libraries have taken these concerns into consideration and often times coordinate scheduled library visits from local schools as well as partnering together to promote Summer Reading Programs too.

As the global pandemic has currently halted many children’s programs offered by public libraries, librarians and library staff have made it their mission to continue servicing families and children via distance learning. Many have used social media such as Facebook Live or YouTube Live to provide children’s programs to all and promote their events. Although the issue of the digital divide has uncovered the lack of internet access for some families, public libraries have stepped up and have offered hot spots as well as laptops to subside this issue for now.

Woodland animals reading books on a computer monitor underneath the text  "Storytime Online."
Lake Bluff Public Library Online Storytime

The importance of public libraries can truly shape a child’s love of reading and learning. It is important that despite whatever obstacles may ensue, we as library professionals keep our communities in mind and advocate for children’s programming, whether it be in-person or online. Our impact as librarians can enact change within the children we interact with through singing, reading, and playing. We as librarians must continue remember that libraries change lives, both big and small.

References

Pew Research Center. (2014, March 18). A new way of looking at public library engagement in America. Retrieved March 15, 2021, from https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2014/03/18/a-new-way-of-looking-at-public-library-engagement-in-america/

Pew Research Center. (2014, January 24). 10 facts about Americans and public libraries. Retrieved March 15, 2021, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/01/24/10-facts-about-americans-and-public-libraries/

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