DigitalLead: Rural Libraries Creating New Possibilities

Package Options

As of June 11, 2019; subject to change

Package option #1: Wi-Fi Hotspots

Successful applicants will be connected to TechSoup and will be required to create an account with TechSoup if they do not already have one. Through an online portal created for the DigitalLead project, libraries will request Mobile Beacon hotspot packages of 1, 5, or 10 devices, allowing for a maximum of 11 (10 device package + 1 device package). One year of unlimited data using Sprint’s network will also be paid for each device. (PLA is currently determining if additional years of data can be supported through the project and will update this information accordingly.) After one year, libraries will receive emails from Mobile Beacon, to the emails they used upon registering, reminding them that the service is expiring and providing them with basic instructions on how to renew.

Upon ordering, the devices will be shipped to the library. Library staff will be expected to install and activate them. TechSoup staff will provide virtual help desk support to funded libraries as needed. Ordering and installation of the new devices is expected to occur in September–October 2019 over a period of 4–6 weeks. Libraries that cannot adhere to this timeline should not apply. PLA will provide tools and resources such as model policies, user guidelines, sample communications to promote the new services, and more to help the library initiate and promote its Wi-Fi hotspot lending program.

Successful applicants will be expected to work with PLA and other funded libraries for a period of 6 months (October 2019–March 2019). Through participation in a series of online meetings, likely every 4–6 weeks, funded libraries will share experiences with their new programs and services. This will also include providing simple qualitative and quantitative data about their new programs and services using data collection tools to be provided by PLA.

Package option #2: Desktops and Laptops for Training

Successful applicants will be connected to TechSoup and will be required to create an account with TechSoup if they do not already have one. Through an online portal created for the DigitalLead project, libraries will request desktops, all-in-ones, and laptops, in three options for each: basic, intermediate, and advanced. As of June 2019, PLA and TechSoup are preparing to offer the following Lenovo products (subject to change):

  • Desktops: ThinkCentre M720 SFF (basic), M720s (Intermediate/Advanced)
  • All-in-ones: ThinkCentre M820z
  • Laptops: ThinkPad T480

Intermediate and advanced machines generally come with higher processing power, multiple and larger hard drives, and other features. All machines will come with integrated network cards for Wi-Fi connections, 3-year warranties, and keyboards/mice (for non-laptops). Options in the basic category will have ports to enable simple upgrades like RAM to keep them "future-proof." Desktops will be "small form-factor" for size convenience, although they are slightly more expensive that regular size.

Costs of these machines range from roughly $370 to $1,050. Successful applicants will be provided with a budget based on their application and will be able to choose a collection of machines of varying types to meet their individual library’s needs. Therefore, the specific number of machines each successful applicant will receive is to be determined, however PLA anticipates the range will be from 1 machine to 16, depending on the options desired.

Upon ordering, the devices will be shipped to the library. Library staff will be expected to install and activate them. TechSoup staff will provide virtual help desk support to funded libraries as needed. Ordering and installation of the new devices is expected to occur in September–October 2019 over a period of 4–6 weeks. Libraries that cannot adhere to this timeline should not apply. PLA will provide tools and resources such as model policies, digital literacy training sites and tools, sample communications to promote the new services, and more to help the library initiate and promote its public access computers and digital literacy training.

Successful applicants will be expected to work with PLA and other funded libraries for a period of 6 months (October 2019–March 2019). Through participation in a series of online meetings, likely every 4–6 weeks, funded libraries will share experiences with their new programs and services. This will also include providing simple qualitative and quantitative data about their new programs and services using data collection tools to be provided by PLA.