Digital Inclusion Resource Collection
The Washington State Library provides this collection of resources based on elements identified by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) as necessary components to achieving the goal of digital inclusion. Digital Inclusion refers to the activities necessary to ensure that all individuals and communities have access to and use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Elements critical to digital inclusion are noted below, with resources to support them.
Affordable Internet Service & Appropriate Devices
List of offers from Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to help low-income households to acquire internet service at low or no cost. Most ISPs have eligibility limitations linked to income or program enrollment; the list also includes established, nationally available low-cost plans offered by nonprofit organizations. This detailed list was designed to be helpful for digital inclusion practitioners, community leaders, service providers, libraries, media, and others who may give guidance to clients and constituents. It is not designed for distribution to the general public.
Individuals or households looking for low-cost internet service and devices are encouraged to use EveryoneOn to find specific offers in their zip code for which they might be eligible, and to explore eligibility for the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (replaced the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program effective 12/31/21). The Affordable Connectivity Program is a Federal Communication Commission (FCC) benefit program that helps ensure that households can afford the broadband they need for work, school, healthcare and more. The benefit provides a discount of up to $30 per month toward internet service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase price. Eligibility criteria and a link to enroll are available on the FCC's Affordable Connectivity Program page.
Offers low-cost refurbished devices for qualifying non-profits.
Map of locations offering free community Wi-Fi; primarily parking lot hotspots, but accessible regardless of how users arrive at the locations. Some sites also offer indoor public access during business hours.
Collective of nonprofit technology refurbishers; AFTRR is a project of the National Cristina Foundation, a 501c3 established over thirty years ago and charged with the mission to promote technology reuse and encourage the donation of technology to nonprofit and school NCF partners throughout the country.
Powered by Connect2Compete which aims to eliminate the digital divide by providing high speed, low-cost Internet and computers, and free digital literacy training to all Americans. Website available in English and Spanish.
National nonprofit that promotes digital equity through device access, connectivity, and digital literacy and skills training. PCs for People serves individuals in need by providing affordable access to computers and the internet, as well as tech support and digital literacy training to empower people to use all the tools available to meet their goals for education, employment, and beyond. PCs for People also offers Tech Recycling for businesses.
Community Help Desk providing free technical support to Washington residents to help them engage in a virtual environment. Help desk Technicians are standing by between the hours of 9am - 5pm to support parents, students, elders, and all community members with problems or questions associated with:
- Internet connectivity
- Basic technical support
- Connecting to community resources
- Learning Management System (LMS) support
- Provide connections for hardware fixes
Support is currently available in Spanish, Khmer, Tigrinya, Afaan Oromoo, Amharic, Sidamo, Wolaytta, and English. Access TechConnect Washington by phone - (800) 216-1132, live chat - techconnectwa.com, email - [email protected], or Facebook Messenger.
Many libraries offer some level of technical support as part of their 'Ask a librarian' services or general reference. Use WSL's Find a Library tool to find our Washington local public library, or search for 'library' using a map tool like Google Maps, MapQuest, or Apple Maps (iPhone).
Digital Skills Training
From the American Library Association’s (ALA) Digital Literacy Task Force (which is led by the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy); Digital Literacy is defined as:
… the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, understand, evaluate, create, and communicate digital information, an ability that requires both cognitive and technical skills.
Washington’s public libraries now have a new resource, Northstar Digital Literacy, for anyone looking to improve their skills with computers, software, or technology. Northstar Digital Literacy is a self-directed assessment and learning tool that covers a variety of technology scenarios. It comes complete with short lessons and practice exercises to improve skills on a number of common computer topics. The Northstar resource is available 24x7 on your local public library's website, or find your closest public library on the Northstar map and follow the links to create a Learner account. Library staff are available to help with the resource during regular hours. English; WSL-funded subscription free for Washingtonians, many resources free to all.
Library staff can learn more about supporting access to Northstar for their community using resources from the State Library's Northstar Niche. Many Washington-based communty organizations can get free access to a Northstar license (access to exam proctoring and curriculum) to support digital literacy for their clients; contact your local public library for assistance.
Created by the Public Library Association, offers short, online, self-paced courses and other learning tools to help make technology work for you. English and Spanish; free to all.
For almost 20 years, the Goodwill Community Foundation (GCF) has helped millions around the world learn the essential skills they need to live and work in the 21st century. From Microsoft Office and email, to reading, math, and more—GCFLearnFree.org offers more than 200 topics, including more than 2,000 lessons, more than 1,000 videos, and more than 50 interactives and games. English, Spanish, and Portuguese; free to all.
Resource for anyone with basic reading skills who wants to learn the fundamentals of using digital technologies. Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese Simplified, English, French, German, Indonesian, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese; free to all.
The Grow with Google program was created to help ensure that the opportunities created by technology are available to everyone. Through free tools and training, the program is designed help people get the right skills to find jobs they want, advance their careers and grow their businesses. Self-guided online resources and courses, live training, and Career Certificates are available. English, Spanish and 32 other languages (scroll to the page footer and choose the drop-down arrow next to English - Europe); free to all (except Certificate Programs; financial assistance is available).
Small Business Owners can build their online presence and find new customers.
Job Seekers and Students can learn the skills they need to get the jobs they want in today’s evolving economy.
Veterans and Military Families can access tools and resources designed to help with the transition to civilian life and to build meaningful careers.
Educators can learn how to help their students get the skills they need to be prepared for today’s jobs.
Developers can sharpen their current skills and master new ones.
Startups can learn how to get their ideas the exposure they need to succeed.
Building on the skills covered in Microsoft's Digital Literacy courses, online learning resources are grouped into 4 learning pathways that lead to Microsoft certifications; these are productivity (Microsoft Office Specialist certification), data science, computer science, and IT infrastructure (Microsoft Technology Associate certification). English; other languages may be available upon request; WSL-funded subscription, free for Washingtonians.
Provides statewide access to LinkedIn Learning, with content from the popular online learning platform, Lynda.com, covering business, technology, and creative. LinkedIn Learning is accessible free of charge with a library card from any Washington public library (including the State Library), via the libraries' website. English, French, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish; WSL-funded subscription, free to Washingtonians.
In partnership with Cisco, provides access to online courses ranging from basic computing to programming and cybersecurity. Earn digital badges and prepare for certification exams; some courses may be eligible for reduced-cost college credit. English; free to all.
For more information about the WSL's support of digital inclusion, please contact:
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Funded in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).