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Public Computer Center Setup Tips

June 16, 2011 by Moira Vahey

Supplies on hand? Check.
Equipment cataloged? Check.
Student union volunteers standing by? Check.

Setting up a public computer center is no small task. Fortunately, one BTOP project, Philadelphia’s Freedom Rings, created a step-by-step account of a recent “Setup Day” for a local public computer center. The article details the steps the grantee and local community members took to get the center up and running and offers tips on items such as laying out the classroom, cataloging equipment, and installing an operating system.

Public computer centers can be a lifeline for those who cannot afford a computer or Internet access at home. Many BTOP-funded public computer centers also provide training for people to develop the skills needed to use technology effectively and participate in the 21st century workforce.

This account can be a helpful resource for other public computer grantees – or other groups that are developing their own computer centers.

We encourage you to take a look at “How to Create a Public Computer Center” on the website of The New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative, a contractor for the City of Philadelphia’s Freedom Rings project.

By sharing best practices, BTOP grantees can leverage their efforts to benefit other grant recipients and the broader community going forward as we work to help close the digital divide.

Congratulations to the volunteers and workers that participated in the Freedom Rings Setup Day!

Partnership with NTIA bolsters libraries' leading role in digital literacy, workforce development

May 31, 2011 by Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director, American Library Association Washington Office

Research confirms that digital opportunity depends not only on access to computers and broadband, but the competencies necessary to successfully navigate the online world and be more competitive in the 21st century. America’s libraries are on the forefront of connecting learners of all ages with formal and informal digital literacy skills training, as well as access to a wide range of technology resources.

For these reasons, the American Library Association is pleased to collaborate with the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration to support DigitalLiteracy.gov. This new portal is an important first step in collecting and sharing class materials, research, and online learning tools. We look forward to greatly expanding the content available as librarians, educators and other practitioners engage with the website.

Building Opportunities for Latino Businesses

May 26, 2011 by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Anna M. Gomez

On Tuesday, I joined a group of Hispanic community development leaders in San Francisco to launch the Latino Tech-Net Initiative, a Recovery Act project spearheaded by the Mission Economic Development Agency, or MEDA, which is equipping 17 computer centers in 11 cities across the country with equipment, software, and training to help Latino entrepreneurs and small businesses build online skills, spur local economic development, and support job creation in their communities.

AMG

Deputy Assistant Secretary Gomez delivers remarks at the Latino Tech-Net Launch

The “digital divide” remains a serious issue for the Latino community, and MEDA is on the front lines of addressing this problem. Data from NTIA’s Digital Nation report show that the broadband adoption rate among Hispanic households is only 56.9 percent - more than ten percent lower than the overall national rate. In fact, even after adjusting for socioeconomic characteristics like income and education, Latino households significantly lag White households in broadband adoption.

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