Lubbock Public Library receives $70k grant, offers free digital classes

Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 5:51 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2022 at 6:46 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - After receiving $70,000 from an American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant, and $400,000 from the Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) grant, the Lubbock Public Library has been making investments toward filling the digital divide. Stacy McKenzie is the Director of Library Services for the city of Lubbock, she said the free Digital Navigators program aims to help people learn computer basics and teach them about free and low-cost internet.

“You know, the digital divide in Lubbock is comparable to a lot of places,” McKenzie said. “There are a lot of people in Lubbock who don’t have access to internet at home, or don’t have the right devices for what they’re doing.”

She said this program can elevate Lubbock to a higher technology standard.

“And at the end, we give you a certificate you can use for resume building, you can use to get into other higher level classes, maybe someplace,” McKenzie said.

The program’s overall goal is to try to fill the digital divide and help everyone learn computer basics.

“So we’ve decided to go with Google Suite, teach all those office products, spreadsheets, documents, we also are teaching Canva,” McKenzie said.

The program also trains on Gmail, Google Drive, Google Slides, Facebook, and more.

September is National Library Card Sign-Up month and the library just received more than 700 new devices that are available for checkout. There are 350 Chromebooks, 350 tablets, and 100 hot spots.

“We do require that you have that library card for about three months before you can check out one of our awesome devices, one of our Chromebooks, hotspots, or tablets,” McKenzie said.

You have to be in good standing with the library to check out the devices. The tablets and Chromebooks are already connected to the internet.

“They’re already internet connected. So they do not need a Wi-Fi connection,” McKenzie said. “You don’t have to go to Starbucks, you can be in your home and now have that connection right there by checking out one of these devices.”

The library is also helping small businesses make their employees better.

“So we will come into your business and teach email to your staff. If they’re confused on email. We can help them with spreadsheets and word documents,” McKenzie said. “And so we’ll be able to help elevate our small business community to make sure they’re more technology savvy to keep up with best the to keep up with everybody else in town and even on a larger level.”

The library wants everyone to have easy access to all their technology needs.

“Our technology game is through the roof. We are really working hard to make sure that we are one of the best technology set libraries in the area,” McKenzie said.

The course runs every Thursday, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Groves Branch. Classes start this week and will finish on Nov. 3. For more information about the course and upcoming events at the public library visit, it’s website here.