Libraries support Get Online Week 2014 to help connect those without online access

The Society of Chief Librarians announced today that it is supporting the Government’s UK Digital Inclusion Charter by ensuring that public libraries have the staff and resources needed to help customers attain and improve their digital skills and capabilities. 11 million people in the UK are without basic digital skills and this digital exclusion is affecting all areas of their lives.

SCL is one of a body of supporting organizations for the Charter, including CILIP, Tinder Foundation, Big Lottery Fund, Google and Talk Talk, among others.

SCL’s Universal Digital Offer will support the stated aims of the Charter, specifically by: identifying and spreading best digital practices in libraries; training public library staff and volunteers to be digital champions; signing and implementing a digital charter for libraries and partners.

Nick Stopforth, SCL Digital Lead, said: Libraries are ideal for learning and can reach many isolated groups of society. SCL wants to make sure that libraries are equipped with the staff and resources needed to help fill the gap in terms of digital information and knowledge.

Today public libraries across the UK launch a week of digital and online events aimed at helping both new and seasoned online users to make the most of the web and online resources. Get Online Week 2014 runs from 13 – 19 October with libraries hosting activities for everyone from complete novices to experienced coders. Get Online Week is managed by Tinder Foundation

Some examples of Get Online Week activity around the country include:

York Libraries will be offering tablet and e-reader taster sessions, digital clinics for isolated members of the public, digital support for job seekers, and coding sessions.

Newcastle Libraries is implementing programmes to increase the digital literacy skills of Newcastle City Council, Jobcentre and other partner organisations’ employees so that they can cascade these skills to customers, launching and supporting a Digital Champions initiative, and delivering a programme of outreach activities to promote Digital Inclusion linked to national campaigns including Older People’s Day, World Mental Health Day, Alcohol Awareness Week and Get Online Week.

Bolton Libraries is lining up a team of “computer mentors” to help customers. Norfolk Libraries have planned hands-on help clinics in everything digital including tablets and mobile phones.