This is a press release from the Whitman County Rural Library District on December 1, 2022.
Whitman County Rural Library District (WCL) is pleased to announce that they are a recipient of a $500,000 Digital Navigator grant from the Washington State Broadband Office and the Washington State Department of Commerce, beginning this fall and running through June 2023.
This grant will allow WCL to develop, host, and teach digital navigation skills to the citizens of Whitman County through its 14 branches located across the county. Library staff, alongside partner organization Pullman Marketing, will act as digital navigators to the public and help them traverse the digital realm, whether that be setting up an email address, applying for a job or service online, helping with hardware or software issues, getting them connected to the internet, and much more.
The grant provides a number of benefits to the residents of Whitman County, including:
- Help signing up for the Affordable Connectivity Program for qualified households, so that they can receive subsidies for their internet subscription
- In-person tech assistance, as well as a telephone hotline and email correspondence for anyone needing assistance
- Resources and trainings provided to the public on digital literacy skills, basic computer lessons, internet safety, and any other topic that the public lets the library know they need help with
- Assistance and one-time subsidy payments for help setting up household internet connections for qualifying candidates
- Increased open hours for each library branch in the county
- Volunteering opportunities for youth to help act as digital navigators in their local libraries
- Gifting of brand new laptops to households under the federal poverty guidelines who do not currently have any computers
More information on all of these benefits will be coming in the next few months. Starting in December, WCL branches will start opening for extended library hours and will maintain these extra hours through June 30th, 2023. People are encouraged to start coming in and seeking help for any of their digital or tech problems, and library staff will help get things sorted out. People are also encouraged to go directly to either the telephone or email hotlines for help as well, and they can visit the forthcoming Digital Navigation page on the WCL website. Please keep an eye on the social media accounts from WCL for the most up to date info and for any new announcements related to this project. Feel free to also contact Cody Allen, WCL Director, at email@example.com.
Thank you to Pullman Marketing for partnering on the work of this grant with WCL, the Port of Whitman County for help researching the grant proposal, Paul Kimmel and Avista for helping WCL learn of the opportunity, and Jody Opheim of Partners for Rural Washington for their amazing help in researching and writing the grant proposal.