The Volunteers in an Adult Literacy Library Program case study describes how one library, in its role as a community anchor institution, served to connect people through volunteerism to the community through the digital literacy acquisition program. The case study describes the setting, how the digital literacy acquisition program fit within the mission of the library, and how the program functioned within the community. The digital literacy acquisition process is described as a people centered process. Volunteering as a tutor in the program was found to contribute to a sense of belonging and connection, provide a way for individuals to serve the community, and provide opportunities for growth and expanded perspectives. Because libraries have the unique mission to provide services to a wide population and are free of many of the more restrictive mandates of workforce development or similar programs, libraries are able to connect with a diverse array of individuals who might not otherwise have opportunities to learn digital literacy or to volunteer. As such, the findings from this research argue for continued funding of programs such as the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program within library settings.
Let us know what you think in the comments section. What have you experienced as you’ve worked to develop volunteers within your organization? How might the findings we set forth in this brief help you continue thinking about ways to serve your population of learners?