Developing and using collaborative partnerships helps libraries extend their reach and facilitates the provision of public access technologies to the greatest number of people. By strategically leveraging these relationships, libraries become vital technology assets to their communities.
Libraries position themselves as community anchors by participating in and presenting at community events. Active involvement allows libraries to gather feedback on the community's technology needs from a variety of stakeholders and leverage this information to align their digital technologies offerings and innovation goals with the needs of their communities.
The provision of technology resources at libraries has had a significant impact in meeting community needs in four critical areas: employment, education, government, and health and wellness. People increasingly rely on public access technology at libraries to find work, apply for college, secure government benefits, learn about critical medical treatments, and connect with their communities.
All people should have opportunities to enrich and improve their lives through open access to the exceptional information, communication and technology services available in public libraries. Equitable access to the technologies that enable users to gather, use and create digital content is especially critical for disadvantaged populations who may otherwise be unable to gain access to information because of the inability to purchase the required equipment, Internet provider service or other necessary resources.
Digital literacy is the ability to effectively and critically navigate, evaluate and create information using a range of digital technologies. It contributes to the economic and social well-being of communities by expanding employment and educational opportunities and allowing people to interact and communicate with family and friends on a regular basis using digital tools like email, Skype, and social media.