Salt Lake City Public Library Model Offers New Guidance

Last fall, when NDIA launched our Digital Navigator training, Navigators was a nascent program with the potential to change the lives of community members in a transformative way. With guidance and feedback from the NDIA community participating in our expert working group, we gathered best practices and learned a lot, but we still needed to test the model on the ground.

One year later, we are excited to share that Digital Navigators is a nationalsuccessful program model that highlights the importance of a human touch when providing services to use and access technology. Designed from the beginning as a replicable, scalable model, Digital Navigators has blossomed in a variety of scenarios to include programming focused on rural communities and program models that work through a city’s information hotline.

No matter the setting or the host organization, the ethos of Digital Navigators has remained the same: to meet community members at their level of comfort, to assess their technology and skill gaps, and to guide users on a path toward self-sustaining technology use.

Today, NDIA is pleased to announce the publication of the Digital Navigators Toolkit, which offers a case study of the Salt Lake City Public Library pilot program. Delivered in partnership with the Urban Libraries Council, with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Salt Lake City program represents the successful implementation of Digital Navigators in a public library setting.

By the time direct service finished in July 2021, Digital Navigators:

    • Supported 585 individuals across 54 zip codes in Salt Lake City
    • Recorded 75% of all interactions as lasting 15 minutes or longer
    • Reported a measured increase in learner confidence and understanding of security on the internet


More datapoints from the program can be found in the visuals below.

Over the course of eight months of direct service, program leadership was diligent about recording information potentially useful to other Digital Navigator programs. In the toolkit you’ll find details about the hiring process, training, daily workflow, program management, evaluation, outreach and more to support the development of additional Digital Navigator programs in communities nationwide.

Download the toolkit here.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant number LG-248566-OLS-20.