RAPIDS PARISH, La. – The Rapides Parish Library announced that it is participating in a new digital literacy pilot program established by the partnership between ConnectLA, the Louisiana Board of Regents, the Louisiana Department of Education, and the Louisiana State Library in the goal of increasing digital literacy in the parish of Rapides by 50% over a period of five years.
Rapides Parish Library Director Celise Reech-Harper said, “A community’s access to the internet and digital devices is directly linked to a well-prepared future workforce and community of informed lifelong learners. Your Rapides Parish Library currently offers a range of options to advance digital skills, but as we introduce this pilot program, we hope to expand our offerings. The need for affordable and reliable Internet access is indisputable; having a community prepared to make the best use of this access is essential for the future of our parish, and your parish library in Rapides is here to help you with this connection.
Five library pilot sites were selected across the state and received $20,000 to not only support digital literacy initiatives, but also to facilitate broadband internet access in their respective communities. For Rapides Parish Library, this means additional access points for patrons to view and support additional classes as well as future technology upgrades. After appointing fifty-five professional library staff as digital navigators for their community, Louisiana State Library Digital Inclusion Manager Rebecca Kelley met with library directors and navigators in May and June to ensure the success of the program. The new digital navigators, including seven from Rapides Parish, received training from the National Digital Inclusion Alliance and Northstar Digital Literacy. Rapides Parish Library has submitted its project plan which includes the development of additional classrooms and will result in community access to the Northstar digital literacy platform.
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