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Pima County Public Library receives funding to help close the digital divide

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Posted at 3:34 PM, Sep 30, 2022

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Pima County Public Library is set to receive new funding to help overcome the digital divide.

The Public Library Association has awarded funding to more than 160 public libraries nationwide to conduct workshops on digital literacy using materials from Digitallearn. Pima County Public Library is one of those libraries.

The PLA Digital Literacy Workshop Incentive, supported by AT&T, provides support to libraries of all sizes to conduct digital literacy training in their communities and help individuals build skills and confidence using technology.

"Grant funds will be used to contract with experienced workshop instructors, allowing the library to broaden its current digital literacy instruction efforts in multiple locations across the County," said Ken Zambos, Program Manager for Workforce and Economic Development.

"Classes will be offered in English and Spanish, and will revolve around several foundational learning topics," Zambos said. "When paired with ongoing local digital inclusion efforts, these workshops will help ensure community members are positioned to take full advantage of increased digital access."

Over the following six months, the workshops will be held in person at various libraries. The library's event calendar will list dates and times.

“The mission of libraries has always been about equitable access to information, literacy, learning, and culture. In the age of COVID-19, this mission has only become vital as libraries have played a critical role in keeping communities connected and online," said PLA President Maria McCauley.

"A 2020 PLA survey found that about 88% of public libraries provide some form of digital literacy support, but only 42% offer formal classes," McCauley said. "Staffing and funding were the top barriers to providing technology training. AT&T's investment with PLA and public libraries nationwide will boost access to digital literacy skills for the most vulnerable in our communities.”

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Bivian Contreras is a real-time editor for KGUN 9. Bivian graduated from the University of Arizona School of Journalism with a Bachelor's degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Broadcast and is currently pursuing a degree in Broadcast Operational Meteorology. Share your story ideas and important issues with Bivian by emailing bivian.contreras@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.