Tech for All: Moving Beyond the Digital Divide

Lauren Comito (Editor)
Available

Description

How can libraries ensure that patrons from all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds have access to advanced technology training and hardware? Everyone knows libraries provide access to computers and the internet for day to day use, but many libraries have gone beyond those basic services. Makerspaces and advanced tech training are often not equitably distributed between differing communities. The digital divide is still very real, and by not providing equal access to maker spaces and other similar services libraries may be unintentionally contributing to that divide. This book examines how the unequal distribution of resources between communities can limit access to emerging technologies. Chapters from librarians across the country give real world examples of libraries going the extra mile to bring more than just email access to their communities, regardless of economic status or geographic distribution. You'll find practical plans put forward by working professionals who have sought pragmatic solutions to issues of digital literacy. Access is a through line in this work as people look at the larger ideas of access as inclusive of training, diverse technologies, and the time and space to make genuine growth in tech literacy. Chapters include: -working with immigrants, -low cost laptops for library use, -deep dives into the underpinnings of the maker movement, and -developing community-focused technology training. After reading this book, librarians should have practical ideas to address the issue of equity in access to emerging technologies in their own communities.

Product Details

Price: $54.00
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Published Date: February 08, 2019
Pages: 216
Dimensions: 6.0 X 0.46 X 9.0 inches | 0.66 pounds
Language: English
Type: Paperback
ISBN: 9781538122181

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About the Author

Lauren Comito has been working to level the playing field for New York City library users for over a decade. Currently the Neighborhood Library Supervisor at the Mill Basin Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, in her previous work as the Job & Business Academy Manager at Queens Library she developed a team that has helped hundreds of people find employment opportunities. She created the Where in Queens mobile website as a development on the ideas put forth by ZenDesk and LinkSF, with whom she laid the groundwork for a partnership while she was presenting at SXSW Interactive. Lauren has logged hundreds of hours training people how to use technology to improve their lives and job opportunities. Lauren is also very invested in the Library ecosystem serving in numerous capacities in ALA (Council, Committee on Library Advocacy) and in the New York Library Association (President Leadership & Management Section, Chair of the Communication Committee). She is the Chair of the Board of Urban Librarians Unite as well as being a founding member of the org. She started ULU's Urban Librarians Conference and has organized this highly regarded conference for four years with speakers and attendees from across the country. Lauren Comito was awarded a Library Journal Mover & Shaker award for her work with tech training and job readiness. Her workgroup received the 2015 Gale Cengage Award for Excellence in Reference & Adult Library Services for the Where in Queens project. She is regularly asked to speak at regional and national conferences on topics of tech, tech training, women in leadership, cross generational management, and library advocacy.

Reviews

So many good ideas here! Comito and her team have created a great go-to guide of tech-forward ways to help libraries happily greet and engage with the 21st century. This is an exceptional collection of peer-tested tools and tips for libraries big and small wanting to work on digital inclusion.--Jessamyn West, librarian, Vermont Mutual Aid Society & Librarian.net
Tech for All takes a fresh look at one of the most important issues facing both libraries and society: how do we seek equity of access and training to technology when economic equity escapes us? Both important and approachable, this book is a must-read for librarians, staff, board members, and anyone with a connection to how their local libraries could better serve those most in need.--Jason Griffey, affiliate, MetaLab at Harvard University
Tech for All is a practical, shining example of a great how-to book. It concentrates on showing the reader multiple projects from start to finish with the results of each specific project, including how each of these projects engaged library customers and staff with the target technology. This book is not a "this is how you could do it" it is the more effective "This is how WE did it, and you can too." The success of the projects covered in the book can be the pebble that ripples in your community. Kudos to all of the project contributors and the editor.--Maurice Coleman, host, producer, and creator, T is for Training; principal, Coleman and Associates
Even if your shelves are already stuffed with professional development titles, you should find space for this one. It's not another shopping list for your first makerspace or the same summary of computer basics you've already seen. Instead, Tech for All provides innovative ideas on topics like IT-centered training for library staff and methods to measure patron interest in potential tech offerings. It also includes sound advice on grant-seeking to fund it all. Clearly-written and exceptionally practical, the book also separates itself from the pack by addressing a variety of communities and demographics. The ideas here can be applied at libraries of all kinds, not just major metropolitan systems, and it doesn't neglect populations who are often overlooked when we talk about the digital divide. As solid a book on this topic as you're likely to find. -- Craig Lefteroff--Booklist, Starred Review
This short but sweeping edited volume, the latest title in the well-established "LITA Guide" series, contextualizes and expands on access as a concept to help evaluate the increasing digital service model of libraries. The chapters collectively demystify technology adoption and training in the context of patron-facing services, with detailed and helpful case studies responding directly to diverse community needs. Of particular note for their uniqueness and utility to practitioners are the contributions on identifying funding, and designing and implementing an assessment of patron digital problem solving skills. Although the case studies primarily document ongoing work in public libraries, the essays are easily adapted to other library contexts, making this collection a particularly valuable contribution to the profession. The editor has made a thoughtful selection of texts collectively emphasizing that providing truly equitable access requires librarians not only to understand their communities but to engage in their own continual professional development around digital literacies. Summing Up: Recommended. Professionals.--CHOICE