digital inclusion

Your Library's Cheat Sheet for OverDrive Training

Your Library's Cheat Sheet for OverDrive Training

Article source: What is OverDrive for Libraries by TechBoomers.com. On May 18, TechSoup for Libraries is teaming up with TechBoomers' Steve Black for a webinar Digital Skills for OlderAdults: Teaching Technology. We thought we'd give a sneak peek at some of the training TechBoomers provides for libraries, such as this "how-to" article on OverDrive.  

Lots of people like to go out to their local libraries to borrow books and other forms of media, sometimes to learn something new, and other times just to be entertained. But it's not always easy to make it to the library; it may be closed, the weather may be inclement, or some people may generally have difficulty getting around.  Wouldn't it be nice if the library could come to you instead?

It's time for you to meet OverDrive. With OverDrive, you can borrow and enjoy materials from your local library or school's digital collection, including audiobooks, e-books, music tracks, and movies.  And all that you need to access it is a valid library card or student ID.

Stop What You're Doing NOW and Celebrate the FCC's Decision

Stop What You're Doing NOW and Celebrate the FCC's Decision

Champagne glasses clinking in celebration

This post was originally published on the TechSoup blog. Because this ruling directly affects digital inclusion efforts, we thought our library audience would also be interested. 

In The Tech That Will Change 2016, I boldly predicted that this is the year that the digital divide will finally be bridged in the United States.

I based this largely on a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed rule change to expand theUniversal Lifeline Program to include affordable $9.25-a-month home broadband.

Well, the FCC did it! The new rule was passed today, finally making home broadband affordable to nearly everyone.

How Libraries Are Increasing Home Broadband Adoption

How Libraries Are Increasing Home Broadband Adoption

Cutting-edge libraries are addressing all aspects of broadband adoption: home Internet access, public Internet access, digital literacy training, and support and access to devices. As part of this effort, libraries are searching for and experimenting with innovative digital divide solutions that include increasing home broadband access.

Digital Skills Are Not the Same as Digital Literacy

Digital Skills Are Not the Same as Digital Literacy

Digital skills mean that you can follow a step-by-step process of creating an email account. Digital literacy means that you can recognize spam, know why it is being sent, and understand how email providers use filters to minimize potential harm.

Digital skills mean that you know how to use Microsoft Word. Digital literacy means that you can use Microsoft Word to clearly and effectively communicate all the key components of an assignment.

Digital skills mean you can show someone how to borrow e-books. Digital literacy means that you know why some e-books aren't available in New Zealand libraries, even though those same e-books can be purchased online.

Bringing Solar-Powered Digital Libraries to Haiti

Bringing Solar-Powered Digital Libraries to Haiti

Picture for Siemens Project Campaign.png

Inveneo is a San Francisco-based nonprofit that's passionate about expanding the tools of technology and educational opportunities to those who need it most in the developing world. In late November 2015, we launched our first ever Generosity (by Indiegogo) campaign to raise funds to deliver 15 Solar-Powered Digital Libraries to Haiti. Check out more details about our project and ways you can support it below!      

The Problem: Limited Learning Resources and No Internet

We designed the Solar Library because we've worked in many remote areas of the world where schoolchildren lack (or only have limited access to) books and basic learning resources, much less computers or the Internet.

Transporting volumes of books or computers to schools can be expensive and logistically daunting. Digital libraries — tablets or computers (PCs) loaded with thousands of e-books and other educational resources — have begun to enhance learning in the developing world. However, many existing digital library solutions require Internet or power.

The Future of Libraries and Digitally Inclusive Communities

The Future of Libraries and Digitally Inclusive Communities

After Access

Just before the start of the ALA 2015 conference in San Francisco, the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy invited digital inclusion advocates to discuss the future of libraries and digital inclusion.

The After Access: Libraries & Digital Empowerment Summit participants "affirmed that digital information and skills are now woven into most all library services, that the need for library staff and clients to continue to deepen their skills will only escalate, and that the role of providing free access to information and services for everyone remains central to the mission and culture of libraries."

TechSoup's own Ariel Gilbert-Knight was invited to participate in the summit, along with other leaders and influencers in the library and digital inclusion fields. The participants examined local digital inclusion programs as well as national research findings and developed recommendations for future activities. The ALA has published a report summarizing the presentations, discussions, and resources from the summit.

How New Mexico Does Library Digital Inclusion: Meet The Makerstate Initiative

How New Mexico Does Library Digital Inclusion: Meet The Makerstate Initiative

Little girl playing with banana circuit

What does digital inclusion mean for libraries? It's the idea that all libraries, even budget-constrained ones, can provide access to current information and communication technologies for their patrons. This could include computers, apps, and current software, plus more exotic things like 3D printers, robotics, toys, programming, and trainings.

Nice idea, but how might small, rural, and other libraries without big budgets get innovative technology and training? Meet the New Mexico Makerstate Initiative.

How to Create a Community Resource Guide

How to Create a Community Resource Guide

At TechSoup, we're all about community organizations coming together to improve the quality of life for citizens. So when I heard about a collaborative project between nonprofits, city agencies, and the local library happening in my own backyard (almost literally!), I knew I had to write about it.

The Visitacion Valley Resource Guide, available in both online and print formats, is a comprehensive guide to local elected officials, employment services, child care, parks and playgrounds, faith-based organizations, public safety, and more for this sometimes under-served San Francisco neighborhood.  

Because many residents of Visitacion Valley don't have Internet access at home and/or don't speak English, it can be difficult for them to find local information. The resource guide, available both online and in print, helps connect people to neighborhood information.

Assistive Technology Tips from Expert Librarians

Assistive Technology Tips from Expert Librarians

Assistive technology continues to be an important topic as public libraries strive to become more inclusive spaces for all members of the community. The American Library Association has a clear policy on accessibility:

"Libraries play a catalytic role in the lives of people with disabilities by facilitating their full participation in society. Libraries should use strategies based upon the principles of universal design to ensure that library policy, resources and services meet the needs of all people." 

Accessibility is also a big part of the Edge Initiative, an assessment program that provides libraries with benchmarks, best practices, and resources for public technology services. 

Edge Benchmark 11 states:

"Libraries ensure participation in digital technology for people with disabilities."

Sounds pretty straightforward, but how do you actually implement this practice? We invited three speakers on our February webinar to share their unique experiences with assistive technology:

Teens and Seniors Learn New Skills Through Genealogy

Teens and Seniors Learn New Skills Through Genealogy

I first got hooked on genealogy in library school — a reference services course to be exact. We had an assignment where we had to look up information about an ancestor using primary and secondary library resources. After that little taste, I was hooked and started exploring even more of my family's history (and yes, signed up for an Ancestry account).

Genealogy is a great way to learn library resources, but I never really considered how it might be a tool for digital inclusion until I heard about the Burlington (Washington) Public Library's ROOTS program.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.