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Digital Literacy Guidebook Overview

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Guidebook Overview Goals of the Guide The Process Digital Literacy Categories Ultimate Goals Questions to Consider


This guide is designed help libraries meet the growing digital needs of their communities. The internet has changed how people communicate, access information, learn new skills, do business and so much more. However each community and individual will require different digital skills to meet their needs and goals.

Many individual libraries do not have the time or resources to tackle everything, for every age group and experience level. This guide will use a combination of worksheets, planning guides and curated resources to help you narrow focus to a specific target audience, identify which digital skills you would like to tackle, and prioritize what is feasible based upon time, staff comfort level, and available resources.

If you are a library staff member in Nebraska feel free to take the Digital Literacy Course, offered by the Nebraska Library Commission, and learn with others who are focused on the same goals. Working together, we can make digital literacy feasible for every library. So let's get started!

Goals of this Guide

By the end of this guide, you will:

  • Build your own working definition of digital literacy.
  • Learn what exists in the world of digital literacy, and explore how these topics are relevant to different demographics in your own community.
  • Explore different ways to connect your community with the tools and resources necessary to succeed in a digital world. Even small changes can do great things!
  • Begin prioritizing what is most important to your community, and build a feasible digital literacy plan that works for you.

There is no one, right way to implement digital literacy for everyone. The process might take a bit of trial and error to find what works. When you find the magic sauce for your community, feel free to share your ideas and help out another library!

The Process

This Digital Literacy Guide will work through the following steps to build a feasible Digital Literacy Plan:

  1. Define what digital literacy means for you and your community.
  2. Narrow down target audience.
  3. Explore major digital literacy categories and prioritize immediate needs.
  4. Take stock of community resources (e.g. schools, job training, interest groups, etc.)
  5. Prioritize and build a Digital Literacy Plan for your library.

Digital Literacy Categories

The categories in this guide are based on the overlapping digital literacy categories being implemented by different types of organizations around the country, and around the world. Many libraries serve patrons in all age groups, with a variety of purposes and learning goals, so using one digital literacy framework targeted to one age group was not feasible.

To suit the diverse needs of community members, this digital literacy guide has been reframed into the following digital skills categories:

  • Online Privacy & Security
  • Online Communication & Etiquette
  • Online Finance & Business
  • Laws & Regulations
  • Digital Health & Wellness
  • Learning Online
  • Basic Skills & Assessment

Note on Job Training & Entrepreneurship: Job training, career exploration, and general workforce development are a more complex side of digital literacy, so they will be addressed in a separate course to help librarians support job seekers, entrepreneurs, and local businesses.

This guide will not make you an expert in all of these topics. The goal is to provide a starting point to determine what your community needs most. Then define digital literacy in a way that suits your community.

Ultimate Goals of Digital Literacy

The World Wide Web has made us all go global. We will all interact with different cultures, belief systems, and viewpoints. To interact and communicate effectively online, we should consider other people. Throughout the process of building a Digital Literacy Plan, communities should be striving towards these ultimate goals:

  • Incorporate digital skills into everyday life, not as a separate category.
  • Use technology to strengthen community.
  • Connect your community with diverse voices from around the world.
  • Encourage collaboration between individuals and organizations.
  • Build an environment that empowers people to try, fail, and learn constantly.
  • Work together towards a better future for us all.

These goals are similar to the goals set forth by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). Similar standards are being incorporated into Nebraska schools. Ask yourself what you want for the future. Use your resources wisely to help your community thrive in a digital world.

Questions to Consider:

Keep these questions in mind as you work through this digital literacy guide:

  1. What is your library already doing with digital literacy?
  2. How will these skills be used by patrons and staff in everyday life?
  3. What are some practical reasons to learn these skills?
  4. How do these topics overlap?
  5. Do you have any questions or concerns about these topics?
  6. Has anyone in your community run into problems with these skills?
  7. What are your community goals? How can technology help?

By the end of this guide, you will have a digital literacy plan to help your community tackle the technology needs of the future. We’ll start by getting a feel for where you want to put your energy with digital literacy in the library. We have a lot of ground to cover here, so let’s get started with digital literacy!

What is Digital Literacy? →

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