Together with AT&T, PLA launches new DigitalLearn courses; announces new incentive program for library digital literacy workshops
For Immediate Release
Public Library Association
American Library Association
CHICAGO – The Public Library Association (PLA) announced the availability of new and updated digital literacy courses and training materials developed as part of its collaboration with AT&T to bring digital literacy training to families. In addition, PLA launched the Digital Literacy Workshop Incentive Program, supported by AT&T, which will provide resources and funding opportunities for public libraries to use the new materials to lead local digital literacy workshops.
The curated collection of courses—available in English and Spanish—help newly connected families to build skills and confidence using technology and are now freely available on PLA’s digital literacy training site, DigitalLearn.org. Through the collaboration with AT&T, PLA has been able to add and update courses, improve training materials, and add more Spanish translations. The courses address essential skills such as getting started with email, navigating websites and commonly used apps, operating search engines, online safety, video conferencing, and more.
PLA’s 2020 Public Library Technology Survey found that more than 88% of all public libraries offer some form of digital literacy programming. Respondents also reported, though, that the greatest challenges libraries face in providing digital literacy assistance or training relate to staffing, including adequate staffing to start and maintain programs, as well as staff with needed expertise to lead training. DigitalLearn.org was developed to help add capacity for public libraries to meet these challenges.
“Digital literacy is a foundational element of digital equity, and DigitalLearn has been a vital tool in the public library toolbox to support learners in building their digital skills,” said Dr. Brandy McNeil, co-chair of the PLA Digital Literacy Committee, PLA Board member, and director of adult services at The New York Public Library. “PLA is thrilled to team up with AT&T to update our content offerings and expand our reach to new families and communities across the nation.”
As part of AT&T’s $2B commitment to narrow the digital divide and homework gap, AT&T employee volunteers are also using the new training materials in AT&T Connected Learning Centers and other community settings to help newly connected parents and caregivers build skills using technology and to support their child’s online learning. The workshops are part of the AT&T Connected Learning initiative, which invests in digital inclusion, digital literacy and digital learning solutions to help today’s students and their families succeed wherever they learn.
On May 16, 2022, PLA will open applications for the PLA Digital Literacy Workshop Incentive, supported by AT&T, which provides up to $7,000 of funding for public libraries to conduct digital literacy workshops using the new and improved DigitalLearn courses and materials. Workshops can be conducted in person or online. Applications will close June 17, 2022, and recipients will be selected and notified in August. Applications are reviewed and selected by PLA.
Public libraries are invited to learn more about this opportunity during PLA’s free webinar, PLA Digital Literacy Workshop Incentive Office Hour, on Thursday, May 19, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. Central. In this “office hours” style webinar, PLA staff will answer questions about the application process and how to implement the courses in library services. The webinar also will be archived and posted online.
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 email@example.com.
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.