“Which computer device is right for me.” “How do I use that app on my iPhone?” “How do I transfer from my old computer to my new computer?”
If you have ever been stumped by a computer question, where do you go for help? People in Mt. Vernon now have a local option for getting their tech questions answered.
The Mount Vernon Tech Pilot Project at Dr. Shaw Memorial Library expands digital literacy for people in the community. Digital skill-building is a component of Mt. Vernon’s Digital Equity and Digital Inclusion Plan, completed in 2022. The pilot project offers in-person, one-on-one tech assistance at the library. Once a week for three hours, a paid tech consultant helps walk-in residents with questions about how to use their devices, set up home printers, or safely search the internet.
GrowSmart Maine’s Kennebec Broadband Partnership program and a Donor-Advised Fund of the Maine Community Foundation jointly funded this pilot project. The library collaborates with the National Digital Equity Center (NDEC – https://digitalequitycenter.org/), a Maine-based digital literacy nonprofit that provides online computer classes and digital navigation services.
Over the first 11 weeks of the program, an average of three to four people each week walked in to request help with a technical problem. A number of people have requested a class on computer basics and based on these requests, this class will be offered in person in September. Dr. Shaw Memorial Library is a Partner Onsite Class location with NDEC and they offer a multitude of computer know-how classes available for free to any Maine resident.
The pilot project at Dr. Shaw Memorial Library runs through November 2023 with existing funding. It is one of several pilot digital literacy programs funded by GrowSmart Maine in its role as one of 13 Regional and Tribal Broadband Partners across the state, funded by the Maine Connectivity Authority.