Libraries Digital Innovation
Gloucestershire County Council is using our network of libraries within local communities to help the public become digital residents by creating safe places to learn, explore, play and become confident in their digital learning. As more and more services are being accessed online, it is important that Gloucestershire residents have the equipment and skills to be able to access the services they need.
Over the past year we have introduced greater access to digital equipment and learning and have invested in our staff to ensure they have the skills needed to support people to become digitally confident.
We have done this by:
- Introducing public access tablets and interactive tables into Bishops Cleeve and Up Hatherley libraries.
- Trialling the use of an open access system so members can access library and digital services outside of normal staffed opening hours.
- Promoting the digital assistance provided by library staff and volunteers in all libraries in the county.
- Ensuring all frontline library staff complete the Society of Chief Librarians Digital Training.
- Establishing a programme of digital confidence training for library staff, who act as ambassadors for our evolving digital services and engage staff in hands on learning with equipment.
- Providing and supporting digital access for Universal Credit applications.
- Providing and supporting digital access for customers wishing to register a Birth or Death, or who wish to obtain copy certificates.
- Providing staff with tablets to carry out routine tasks and enabling them to work more flexibly.
Libraries are also positioned at the heart of encouraging digital innovation for both young and old.
David is a carpenter by trade and has been coming to Cheltenham Library for several years to use the computers. To begin with he had poor IT skills but through staff and volunteer assistance and attending “gadget” sessions in the library, he has developed his skills and confidence and even purchased his own tablet.
Thanks to the assistance that David has received in the library he now has the technical ability to be able to apply for jobs on both the People’s Network computers and from his own tablet. He is thrilled that he can now take photos of his carpentry work and email them to customers who approach him for quotes, therefore improving his business.
We do this by:
- Having Code and STEM clubs in libraries to support STEM learning for young people.
- Establishing innovation labs in libraries to showcase digital innovation to businesses and offer community based quality learning.
- Offering “gadget” sessions in libraries to support customer’s digital confidence (particularly older people).
Libraries are also supporting economic growth in Gloucestershire by partnering with the Gloucester Growth Hub and becoming part of the Growth Hub Network. All 31 council run libraries are perfectly positioned to signpost start ups or smaller businesses to sources of advice, support and guidance.