The Public Library Association has awarded $1.27 million to more than 200 public libraries to support digital literacy efforts and Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) enrollment.
The 200 public libraries spread across 45 states will use the funding to host digital literacy and ACP workshops. PLA noted that the Digital Literacy Workshop Incentives were funded in part by AT&T. The incentives are intended to support public libraries in their work improving digital skills and promote broadband adoption among families and communities.
“Public libraries continuously play a vital role in providing digital literacy tools and information to their communities,” said PLA President Maria McCauley. “The expansion of this powerful collaboration with AT&T for the second year will ensure that even more families and communities can benefit from programs and resources that increase digital access and equity.”
A press release further explained that the workshops leverage the online digital literacy courses that are freely available to anyone through DigitalLearn.org and AT&T ScreenReady. DigitalLearn.org online courses and training materials were developed with and for library staff and their patrons.
The more than 200 libraries that were selected are the second cohort and are part of an expanded national initiative and collaboration between PLA and AT&T. Last year, the first cohort of libraries held more than 1,500 workshops which helped over 8,000 learners build skills and confidence using technology.
Workshops, which are available in English and Spanish, will be offered on 8 digital literacy topics, as well as how to apply and use the ACP benefit. PLA said courses cover basic technology skills which include topics such as internet use, video conferencing, cybersecurity, and mobile device basics, as well as ACP basics.
“Collaboration is a crucial part of helping to close the digital divide,” said Charlene Lake, chief sustainability officer, senior vice president, AT&T corporate responsibility. “Our work with libraries is making a difference as we meet people in their local neighborhoods and bring them digital literacy tools and resources so they can gain the skills needed to participate in our connected world.”
Workshops funded by the PLA Digital Literacy Workshop Incentive will be conducted online and/or in person at participating libraries across country. Workshops began last month and will be offered through December 2023.