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Rowan Public Library joins initiative to help people with digital connectivity

SALISBURY — Through a state partnership, the Rowan Public Library will offer assistance to local residents who need help with digital connectivity, devices and other internet-related needs.

This temporary service, which will offer help from people called “digital navigators,” is part of larger efforts to close the digital divide in North Carolina and may be helpful to those interested in the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit launching on May 12.

Many North Carolinians are affected by the digital divide, which is the gap between those who have access to technology, the internet and digital literacy training and those who do not. The State Library of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Information Technology’s Broadband Infrastructure Office and Rowan Public Library are partnering to help community members overcome those barriers with this digital navigator helpline.

“The library is excited to participate in this monthlong pilot project. Digital equity is a key component to a knowledgeable and economically vibrant Rowan County,” said Rowan Public Library Director Melissa Oleen. “We hope Rowan residents will take full advantage of this resource.”

Anyone who would like to talk to a digital navigator about their needs related to internet access, devices, or digital skills can text 919-714-9471, leave a voicemail at 919-714-9471, or fill out the online form at bit.ly/maydignav to receive a call back.

Common topics include home internet connectivity, email, online video call platforms like Zoom, online education, the Emergency Broadband Benefit and devices such as Chromebooks. This temporary service will inform future digital inclusion initiatives.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Rowan Public Library has marketing materials promoting digital navigators. 

“I encourage individuals and business, churches and nonprofits that would like to share information about the program with family, employees, parishioners, volunteers and clients to contact the library at 704-216-8240 so we can share these materials with you,” Oleen said.

This project is made possible in part with funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

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