Watertown Library Awarded National Digital Literacy Grant

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Watertown Library The Watertown Free Public Library.

The following announcement was provided by the Watertown Library:

The Watertown Free Public Library (WFPL) is among over 160 public libraries nationwide awarded funding by the Public Library Association (PLA) to conduct digital literacy workshops. The PLA Digital Literacy Workshop Incentive, supported by AT&T, provides support to libraries of all sizes to conduct digital literacy training in their communities and help close the digital divide.

WFPL will use these funds to bring digital literacy training into community spaces around Watertown. Workshops have already been scheduled with the Watertown Housing Authority and others will be coordinated in the coming months. The Library plans to offer trainings and translation services in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

“We’re definitely taking inspiration from the recent success of the bookmobile,” says WFPL Digital Services Librarian Jaccavrie McNeely. “If we can bring physical materials directly to our communities, why not bring other learning opportunities as well?”

“The mission of libraries has always been about equitable access to information, literacy, learning, and culture. In the age of COVID-19, this mission has only become vital as libraries have played a critical role in keeping communities connected and online,” said PLA President Maria McCauley. “A 2020 PLA survey found that about 88% of public libraries provide some form of digital literacy support, but only 42% offer formal classes. Staffing and funding were the top barriers to providing technology training. AT&T’s investment with PLA and public libraries nationwide will boost access to digital literacy skills for the most vulnerable in our communities.”

PLA’s free training site, Digitallearn.org, helps community members build skills and confidence using technology. The Watertown Free Public Library will help patrons utilize these resources in an upcoming “Internet Basics” workshop that will be conducted in person at the Library on Friday, 10/28 at 2 PM. Registration is not required for this class and interested patrons are encouraged to arrive early—the first ten people are guaranteed computer access.

Additional digital literacy programs, offered at the Library and in the community, will be announced this fall. For the latest, pick up a newsletter in the Library or visit the Library’s events calendar at watertownlib.org/events

About WFPL

The Watertown Free Public Library provides access to a wide variety of popular materials, resources, services, and programs that fulfill the informational, cultural, and recreational needs of Watertown and surrounding communities. Our Library works to create an environment that attracts and welcomes users of all ages and abilities. For more, visit watertownlib.org.

About the Public Library Association
The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 9,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders. For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext. 5PLA, or pla@ala.org.   

About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T 

We’re committed to advancing education, creating opportunities, strengthening communities. and improving lives. As part of our companywide $2 billion commitment from 2021–2023 to address the digital divide, we launched AT&T Connected Learning to invest in connectivity and technology, digital literacy, and education solutions. We aim to help today’s learners succeed inside and outside of the classroom. Since 2008, we’ve committed more than $600 million to programs that help millions of students across all 50 states and around the world, particularly those in underserved communities.

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