The following is a Field Report from Nicole Umayam in Arizona. Click here learn more about the Digital Inclusion Corps.
26 people attended the Arizona Tribal Libraries Digital Inclusion Summit on September 21, 2017, hosted by the Ak-Chin Indian Community Library in Maricopa, Arizona. The meeting was designed for tribal librarians, library employees, tribal IT managers, and tribal education administrators to gather, learn about digital inclusion, and discuss why being digitally connected is important for their communities.
The summit was arranged in a series of sessions:
- Understanding digital inclusion (definitions and examples)
- Increasing library impact through digital services (an overview of State Library of Arizona resources, including databases and services for the visually impaired)
- Using technology for language and culture (digital archiving and digital skills needed for language revitalization)
- Affording devices and Internet service (E-rate and low-cost offers for consumers and organizations)
- Getting started on digital inclusion work (broadband assessments and examples of library programming)
Throughout each session, there was plenty of discussion and story sharing. We also had a chance to tour the Ak-Chin Library and to speak with the staff about their use of digital technology in library programming. The highlight of the day was distributing the 300 donated laptops to the attendees.
As the first meeting of its kind for the Arizona tribal library community, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As the day went on, it became clear that while convening stakeholders is an important first step towards meaningful digital inclusion work, we also need to equip stakeholders with comprehensive information about information and communications technologies (ICTs) which meet local needs. According to the exit survey, when asked what topics participants want to know more about, the overwhelming leader was “digital skills needed for documenting language and culture.” The second most selected topic was “understanding broadband technology.” I’m excited to work more with the broad tribal library community to address these needs.