DigitalLearn.org, the cornerstone of PLA’s digital literacy portfolio, provides self-directed courses that build digital literacy skills and confidence using technology. The online courses—available in both English and Spanish—are freely available to everyone and teach basic skills such as: getting started with email, navigating websites and commonly used apps, operating search engines, mastering cybersecurity, and more. Through a recent partnership with AT&T, PLA has been able to add and update courses, improve training materials, and include Spanish translations.
In addition to the video modules, libraries also have access to a range of off-the-shelf training materials. Facilitator guides, scripts, presentation decks, and learner handouts are available to make it easy for libraries to conduct digital literacy workshops in both English and Spanish.
PLA is proud to partner with AT&T to expand upon its work helping libraries and their communities close the digital divide. 160 libraries across the country are participating in the PLA Digital Literacy Workshop Incentive, supported by AT&T, which offers funding for public libraries to conduct digital literacy training in their communities using the new and improved DigitalLearn courses and training materials.
Customize DigitalLearn.org for Your Library
Public libraries can leverage PLA’s digital literacy training site to empower the digital skills trainers in their libraries and the learners in their communities. Access to DigitalLearn.org is completely free to all users.
Libraries that wish to deepen their commitment to enhancing digital literacy in their communities can purchase and customize their own branded DigitalLearn website. Custom library- sites include DigitalLearn.org’s growing collection of courses and training materials, as well as custom course and page content from the library. Participating libraries can track and demonstrate impact through learner analytics, and learners visiting the library’s site can create and personalize their course lists, tailor content through a course recommendation tool, track progress, and receive certificates for course completions. If you are interested in creating your library’s own DigitalLearn site, please contact email@example.com.
Tech Skills Checklist for Public Library Supervisors and Staff
The Tech Skills Checklist represent the most commonly sighted proficiencies librarians need to master to best serve digital literacy learners. Becoming familiar with each of these areas is critical to providing great experiences for library patrons and getting comfortable with these skills can improve your day-to-day experience in the workplace. This tool can be used as a self-assessment, done independently or as a part of staff professional development. Each skill set is paired with online learning resources to support development.
150 Million New Technology-Oriented Jobs and the Skills Needed to Get Them
In November 2020, PLA presented this webinar about the multiple converging factors that have changed the labor market the type of skills needed to succeed in the workforce and how libraries can offer access to free and low-cost learning options to prepare job seekers for in-demand careers.
Virtual Platform Possibilities – Providing Digital Skilling Resources for Patrons
In April 2020, PLA presented this webinar with digital literacy experts to discuss ways to offer or expand virtual digital skill development programs for patrons and staff, and support technology training in a virtual environment. Learn about resources and ideas from PLA, The New York Public Library’s TechConnect program, and Microsoft Teams for programming and productivity.
Visit PLA’s Online Learning page to get the latest updates on virtual trainings.
Other Useful Tools and Resources
PLA has compiled resources to help libraries start, promote and evaluate hotspot lending programs, digital literacy training, and public access computers. Use these Playbooks to get ideas from other libraries and templates you can adapt for your library. These materials were developed in conjunction with DigitalLead: Rural Libraries Creating New Possibilities, a past partnership with Microsoft Corp,
Past PLA Initiatives and Grants
- DigitalLead: Rural Libraries Creating New Possibilities
- Libraries Lead with Digital Skills
- Public WiFi Access Micro Grant Program
- Skilling for Employment Post COVID-19
For more digital literary resources and training tools:
- Visit the PLA Professional Tools section on Digital Literacy.
- Visit the ALA Government Relations Training Programs and Resources page, which includes links to computer tutorials, educator resources, and examples of public library computer literacy programs.
- Read the 2015 Pew Research Center report Libraries at the Crossroads, which explores public perceptions of key library services, including digital skilling.
Read More About PLA’s Digital Literacy Work
- AT&T’s Connected Learning Centers providing digital literacy and education opportunities (Dallas Morning News)
- Public Libraries Promote Digital Careers and Help Job Seekers (TechSoup blog)
- PLA's DigitalLead Helps Libraries Address the Digital Divide (TechSoup blog)
- Not open? No problem. Rural Libraries Push WiFi Into Community Spaces (Public Libraries Online)
- Bridging the digital divide – a new chapter in the life of the public library (Microsoft blog)
- America’s libraries boost broadband access and use—during a pandemic and beyond (Next Century Cities blog)
PLA Digital Literacy Interest Group
Join PLA’s Digital Literacy Interest Group to connect with members who provide digital literacy training in their libraries, or to learn more about making your library a digital literacy learning center. Please note that participation in PLA interest groups is limited to PLA personal members and login is required.*
*You will be asked to login with your ALA website login and password to confirm your current PLA personal membership. If you’ve forgotten your login information, you'll be able to retrieve your username/password or create a login if you don't have one from the "Login" page.