Technology is advancing at a rapid pace and public libraries are in a good place to offer their communities the tools to be successful. Libraries are now adopting new technologies to remain relevant in this digital age and are no longer just repositories for printed materials. As Eric Klinenberg in his interview with Library Journal explains, libraries are a part of the “social infrastructure: places where people gather, bonds form, and communities are strengthened” (Peet, 2018). Therefore, it is of utmost importance that public libraries not only offer the tools to be successful, but also help the users navigate those tools and also create an inclusive environment to facilitate community engagement for all.
The Oceanside Public Library (OPL) has implemented new technologies for their customers such as a Makerspace, which includes 3d printers, a green screen, VR headsets, sewing machines, a computer lab, and other digital resources. The library offers basic computer classes for adults and also drop in classes to learn how to use their portable devices with our eBook platform and digital streaming service Hoopla. What the OPL is not currently doing is offering these classes in Spanish. I have had the opportunity to work at the computer lab and have noticed the older generation Spanish speaking users have very limited computer skills making it extremely hard for them to complete important tasks such as job applications, registering their children for school, or communicating through email. Although the digital divide for the Latino Community has narrowed according to the Pew Research Center (Lopez, Gonzalez-Barrera, and Patten, 2016), much of that has to do with smartphone adoption and the younger generations. Broadband use at home is still low and that is where public libraries can play a big role for this community.
Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:
My proposal would be to create a program called Tecnología Para Triunfar (Technology to Succeed), which would be classes in Spanish to help this community learn the necessary skills to use the resources they have at their disposal. The series of technology classes would help the older generation Spanish speaking community in Oceanside learn basic computer skills such as web browsing, formulating an email, performing job searches, filling out online forms, navigating their mobile devices, and using technology offered by the library in order to help them be successful contributors in their community.
- Provide a participatory learning experience for the Spanish speaking community where they can learn basic computer skills.
- Spark community engagement which will help the community participate in a meaningful learning environment with their peers.
- Create an inclusive environment at the library by providing classes in Spanish.
- Help promote the library’s resources to the community.
- Build a stronger relationship between the Latino Community and the Oceanside Public Library.
Description of Community you wish to engage:
We would like to engage the older generation Spanish speaking community to participate in the classes in order to enrich their understanding of new technology. Although the target audience is the older generation, we welcome all Spanish speaking customers that would like to learn how to use all of the digital resources available to them either at the library or in their home.
Action Brief Statement:
Convince the Spanish speaking community that by attending our Spanish technology classes they will learn the necessary skills to be successful during present and future times. They will acquire an important understanding of new technologies that are crucial in the job market, education, and civic engagement.
Convince staff that by offering these much-needed classes we are creating an inclusive environment for a diverse population that is at a disadvantage in terms of technology. These classes will encourage civic engagement helping build a stronger community.
Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:
Libraries that offer such classes:
Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:
The classes will adhere to all the policies set by the Oceanside Public Library including programming and use of any technology in the library. We have an internet use policy that will be followed by both the instructors and the students participating in the classes in order to be in compliance with the policies of the library. Any volunteers participating in the teaching of classes will go through the City of Oceanside’s procedures which include a vetting process that includes a medical examination and background check. The programming falls in line with the Oceanside Public Library’s Mission which is to Engage, Connect, and Inspire the community of Oceanside. Any additional policies will be presented to the Library Director in order to submit to the Library Board of Trustees for approval.
Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service:
Funding for the classes will be provided by the Library’s programming budget which has an allocation for computer classes. A computer lab is available at the Civic Center Library for such classes with access to computers and other devices such as 3d printers and portable devices. If further funding is necessary to acquire additional resources the Oceanside Public Library Foundation and Friend’s of the Oceanside Public Library could assist in providing one-time funds for the programming. Federal and state grants can also be applied for in case of further funding needs.
Action Steps & Timeline:
New programs at the Oceanside Public Library are evaluated by the Programming Team, which consists of the Division Manager for Adult and Youth Services along with the Principal Librarians and the Senior Librarians of the units. The program, if approved by the Division Manager, gets forwarded to the Library Director and then the Library Board of Trustees for approval.
Timeline for Tecnología Para Triunfar:
- Preparation of outline for programming series by the Principal Librarian of Adult Services to present to Programming Team. (1 week)
- Submit proposal for the program to the Programming Team. (1 week)
- Submit the program proposal to the Library Director for approval. (1 week)
- Library Director submits the proposal to the Library Board of Trustees (meeting occurs once a month) at their monthly meeting. (1 week).
- Once approved a request is submitted to recruit volunteers to assist the Adult Services Librarian in teaching the classes. (2 months)
- Create a curriculum for the courses with the volunteers and input from the community it will be serving. (1 month)
- Train the volunteers on the necessary resources that will be utilized. (2 weeks)
- Finalize the booking of the Foundation Room (computer lab) and set the days and times for the scheduled classes and their start date. (1week)
- Promote the classes in conjunction with the Community Outreach Coordinator. (1 month)
Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:
The program will be overseen by the Adult Service Librarian in charge of programming with volunteers teaching the classes. Through a partnership with MiraCosta Community College, volunteers experienced in teaching at their adult learning center will be recruited to teach the courses. The Librarian will need to shift some of her hours initially to help with the creation of the curriculum and training of the volunteers, but once the program is up and running the volunteers will run the classes on their own.
Ideally two volunteers would be recruited for the classes in order to help facilitate a large group of students should the need arise. Also, with two volunteers knowing the curriculum it will help with flexibility and coverage should one volunteer be absent for unforeseen or scheduled absences.
Training for this Technology or Service:
Training for the volunteers will include a new volunteer orientation program that is set by the City of Oceanside along with the volunteer training set forth by the Library. Once the initial orientations are completed the volunteers will go through a basic training program that includes the use of all the technology resources that will be utilized to teach the classes.
The Information Analyst for the Library will provide training on the use of the projector utilized in the Foundation Room along with all of the student laptops and devices that will be used for the classes. Further training on the Library’s resources will be provided by the Librarian overseeing the programming ensuring that all necessary tools at the disposal of the volunteers be covered.
Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service:
In conjunction with the Community Outreach Coordinator of the Oceansidepublic Library, the Programming Librarian will create marketing material to promote the classes. Flyers will be created to hand out at local grocery stores where the Latino community frequently visit, sent to schools to send home with students, and also hand out during our Spanish story time for kids at both locations. Our mobile libraries, which serve the Spanish speaking community, will also be heavily promoting the classes to the communities they serve through flyers helping spread the information throughout the city. In addition to flyers the Library uses social media to promote library services along with the Library and City website.
A press release will go out to utilize all the local media outlets and additionally the library will contact the local Spanish radio and television networks to advertise the program during prime time segments. The Library has a marketing fund that can assist with the funding of the promotion of the project along with financial support from the Library Foundation and Friend’s of the Library support groups.
It is important to continually evaluate programming in order to ensure that our programs are meeting the needs of the communities we are serving. We will track the attendance of our programs to ensure that our promotion and marketing is reaching both users and non-users of the library for the purpose of maximizing our outreach efforts. We will also provide a pre and post course assessment to help us tailor our program to ensure that we are meeting the educational goals of our curriculum. This will also provide us with insight on the needs of the students prior to starting the course and see if we are meeting our outcome-based goals set forth in the planning.
We will have the students participate in surveys and community focus groups which will help us to understand the needs of the students in order to help make improvements and changes to the programming. This will also help us to engage with the community we are serving and create an inclusive and participatory environment which will help empower the students. Our main goal of Tecnología Para Triunfar is to help the Spanish speaking community succeed in society and promote community engagement. By listening to them and their needs we are positioning ourselves in a place to better serve them by facilitating access to the necessary resources we have to offer in an inclusive environment.
Lauersen, C. (2018). Do you want to dance? Inclusion and belonging in libraries and beyond. Retrieved from https://christianlauersen.net/2018/06/07/inclusion-and-belonging-in-libraries-and-beyond/
Lopez, M. H., Gonzalez-Barrera, A., & Patten, E. (2016, February 23). Closing the Digital Divide: Latinos and Technology Adoption. Retrieved from https://www.pewresearch.org/hispanic/2013/03/07/closing-the-digital-divide-latinos-and-technology-adoption/
Peet, L. (2018, October 3). Eric Klinenberg: Libraries and Social Infrastructure. Retrieved from https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detailStory=181003-Eric-Klinenberg-QA .
Stephens, M. (2011). The hyperlinked library. Retrieved from http://mooc.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/StephensHyperlinkedLibrary2011.pdf