Half Way Recognition

As we near the half way point of the BTOP grant, I want to congratulation you on the amazing progress Colorado libraries have made.

Also, we have special recognition for libraries that have really used this public computer center (PCC) grant to re-invent the way they are serving their communities: High Plains Library District, Delta County Libraries, Lamar Public Library, Naturita Community Library, Nucla Public Library, Dolores County School/Public Library, and Fleming Community Library - see details further below - and a special recognition for Denver Public Library too!

First a quick summary: Nearly all of the PCC are up and running with some HUGE numbers:

    * 1072 new desktops, laptops and tablet computers, and other equipment
    * 77 of the total 88 locations
    * $2.3 million spent of the total $3.3 million
    * 1,322,836 computer uses in the Public Computer Centers
    * 150,089 one-to-one computer help sessions
    * 865  public classes with 8,625 participants trained

Over 1300 PCC students responded to a satisfaction survey, and 94% reported they learned a valuable skill, and 95% would recommend the class to others.

Throughout Colorado 2,883 library staff attended 470 hours of classes, workshops, and webinars so they are prepared to help people both formally (classes) and informally with computer use.  Libraries in 54 communities held festive launch events to highlight how libraries are helping citizens with technology, job skills, and other vital life activities (such as connecting with family).

Stellar Libraries: Going Above & Beyond
A handful of BTOP libraries stand out as re-inventing the way they serve their communities due to this grant.  The BTOP team acknowledges this extra effort and hope it inspires others with the innovative ideas they have implemented.

High Plains Library District
The High Plains Library District developed an innovative model to bring technology training to remote rural Weld County, covering an area of 4,000 square miles. Before the grant, they were already providing computer classes in libraries so they used the funds to reach out to communities without libraries. By creating satellite library locations as Public Computer Centers, offering one-on-one tutoring sessions by appointment, and nurturing strong relationships with partners, they are meeting high need populations. Director Janine Reid saw the potential for this grant and chose to hire additional staff to train and manage their ambitious and innovative PCC service model. Kelli Johnson helped design the statewide marketing campaign and customized it for their communities. Erin Kirchoefer arranged to host a national video shoot to highlight the impact of the BTOP grant, provides training throughout the area, and excels at reporting and compliance.  They have infused a culture of learning throughout their considerable service area.

Delta County Libraries
Delta County Libraries exemplifies the BTOP spirit through its innovation and commitment to training. All five branches of the Delta County Libraries have enthusiastically embraced staff training and computer classes for their communities. Led by Literacy Program Manager Jessica McGrath, iPads are also available at the libraries loaded with educational apps that deliver both literacy and computer skills to k-12 students. In addition, their computer labs are full with classes and activities that are improving skills for high need populations.

Lamar Public Library
The Lamar Public Library has been a good neighbor and a true regional leader by taking the initiative to hire a dedicated trainer and reaching out to smaller towns. Under the leadership of Debbie Reynolds, the Lamar Public Library is a vibrant, committed, passionate, engaging force. They have performed well beyond the grant expectations by expanding past their town and create digitally literacy throughout remote southeast Colorado.

Naturita & Nucla
Naturita Community Library and Nucla Public Library have long been good neighbors. Their collaboration on the BTOP grant is but another example of the benefit to all when libraries work together. Naturita and Nucla library staff have joined together for staff training and to share training resources. By sharing volunteers and training resources, they put their remote  communities’ interests first. They show an eagerness to learn, a generosity to collaborate, and a courageous spirit in leading remote Coloradans into broadband adoption.

A number of small libraries have had the courage to do big things in new ways within their communities.  These libraries have blown us away with their ability to get things done and create learning.

Small But Mighty - Dove Creek
Laurie Ernst is a one-woman show at the Dolores County School/Public Library. Her enthusiasm for bringing additional computers and training to her community is an inspiration. She went to every business in the community to promote the computer center and invited them to the launch event. While helping students find library resources during the day, in the evening Laurie turns her attention to her public patrons and delivers computer classes to eager adult students.

Small But Mighty - Fleming
The Fleming Community Library (school/public) has shown dedication and enthusiasm for their PCC. Despite limited staff time, they were quick to purchase and install new technology and to begin offering instruction. They have recruited volunteers to teach classes, including high school students and community members with a passion for technology. They offer classes in basic Internet, social networking, and digital media so they can teach digital literacy while maintaining a focus on community interests.

They’ve got our backs
We want to acknowledge and thank the Denver Public Library.  Beyond rolling out with their own PCCs, the Denver Public Library staff including Michelle Jeske and Zeth Lietzau have supported the overall statewide effort by assisting the Colorado State Library.  They have allowed us to branch out farther and faster throughout the state. DPL has hosted regional trainings, provided translations of documents,  pre-tested surveys, and even allowed us to shoot a video in their impressive Computer Technology Center. The Denver Public Library has been a shining star behind the scenes.