A program with impact!
Read a Digital Literacy success story
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According to the American Community Survey (2016), 38.7% of Rochester households do not have a desktop or laptop computer. And, 42.9% of households do not have fixed internet subscriptions*. While smartphones are prevalent, they cannot perform all of the tasks that desktops or laptops can. Lack of computers in homes or easy access to the internet has serious economic and social consequences. One example: 60% of those who begin online job applications cannot complete them. Read more about the Digital Divide
Digital Literacy is a free, one-to-one, drop-in service for individuals who want to learn basic computer skills or complete computer-essential tasks. The program is staffed by computer help volunteers who work at various community sites. Computer helpers also distribute free flash drives to customers who need them.
We teach all skills needed for the basic operation of a computer. By “computer-essential tasks” we mean almost anything that you can imagine – from applying for a driver’s license, to creating an email account or a resume, applying for a job, getting a song copyrighted or using your patient portal. Ask and we’ll help with that!
*fixed subscriptions include wired (DSL, cable or fiber optic) and satellite
Key 2017-18 highlights
- Key customer outcome
- 96.4% of customers learned new computer skills, completed computer-essential tasks, or became more marketable for employment
- Key community outcome
- Invested $250,000 of program resources in public libraries
- Key organizational outcomes
- Served 3,273 customers
- Distributed 772 free flash drives, making customers more digital and mobile
- Volunteers donated the equivalent of $142,892 in time
- Steve, customer: “Whoever came up with the idea of having volunteers at the Arnett Public Library came up with a brillant idea. I was able to get my Resume done correctly, and was helped to find a job … Others are also saying the same. Please continue this approach in the Library and other libraries for this system works. A sincere thanks again.”
- Jennifer Cherelin, Adult Librarian, Lyell Branch Library: “I just wanted to let you know that a gentleman wanted Leta to be recognized for her excellent computer assistance and time helping him today for an extended period. Library staff can be recognized with a pink Excellent Service Form by patrons who wish to show their appreciation of our customer service efforts. This was one of those occasions when I believe had this been an option for Leta, that this gentleman would have gladly written an Excellent Service Form recognition for her.”
- Virginia Rizzo, HC4 Coordinator, 1199 SEIU Training & Employment Fund: “You and your organization provide invaluable, holistic services to our community, offering hope and options to many. Thank you again for sharing this with our members.”
- Bruce Tehan, Branch Manager, Arnett Branch Library: “All of the Literacy Volunteers [navigators] are appreciated by our patrons but I wanted to pass along a couple extra kudos they have received lately. One is for Trish in the attached form (‘Very helpful. Very nice. Good people person.’). The other was verbally described to me this way: ‘Nancy was so kind. The customer service person was being so rude and mean to me on the phone. Nancy took over the call and handled the situation so well.'”
- Eric, customer: “Digital Literacy volunteers are phenomenal, willing to share their talents, and very much appreciated. I plan to continue to use their services, and highly recommend others use them as well.”
- Jennifer Cherelin, Adult Librarian, Lyell Branch Library: “The digital literacy aides help us to offer a much higher quality of service than we would normally be able to provide otherwise, due to the volume of patrons whom we serve with such a great need for computer assistance for a variety of needs. We definitely feel a greater challenge to attempt to meet everyone’s needs on days when your navigators are not able to be present! Together with our combined efforts, we are able to meet such a great need.”