Library helps to bridge digital divide in rural communities

Williams branch Manager awarded a Digital Inclusion Fellowship through NTEN

Josephine Community Library Williams Branch Manager Ellie Avis has been awarded a Digital Inclusion Fellowship through the Nonprofit Technology Enterprise Network (NTEN) to implement a digital inclusion project to help residents build technology skills and meet their social, economic, and civic needs.

“This fellowship is a great opportunity for the library to enhance our services, by not only providing patrons access to digital and online tools, but making sure people have the skills they need to use those tools to achieve their goals,” says Williams Branch Manager Ellie Avis. “As the library district upgrades technology offerings, focusing on digital inclusion ensures that everyone benefits from these investments.”

Launched in 2015, the Digital Inclusion Fellowship builds capacity and leadership to bridge the digital divides in their communities. In this year-long, project-based, professional development cohort, fellows will develop and implement project plans in order to increase opportunities for adults in their communities to learn essential digital skills and will receive project grants of up to $1,000 to help launch their programs.

As manager of the rural Williams branch, Ellie works with volunteers to connect library patrons with the information and services they need. Ellie believes that access to information resources can be key to transforming a person’s life, but that people from diverse backgrounds experience a variety of barriers to accomplishing their goals. Breaking down these barriers in the digital realm is one way that Ellie works to reduce opportunity gaps faced by rural communities. 

The 2019 Digital Inclusion Fellowship is sponsored by Google Fiber, The Cleveland Foundation, and the Meyer Memorial Trust.

NTEN, based out of Portland, is where nonprofit and library professionals learn about and celebrate the ways technology helps them meet their missions. Their members share the common goal of helping communities use all aspects of technology more effectively.

For more information about the Digital Inclusion Fellowship, contact the library at info@josephinelibrary.org, or 541-476-0571.