LSTA Awards Funds to Bluford Library for Digital Navigator, Laptop Loan Programs

08/01/2023 Library

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Aug. 1, 2023) – F.D. Bluford Library at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University has earned a $99,891 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant from the State Library of North Carolina to support a digital navigator pilot program and expand a laptop loan program.

Bluford Library is partnering with the Federal TRIO Programs on the pilot program. It will hire and train TRIO students to serve as digital navigators for students who use the library’s laptop loan program. Laptops purchased as part of the grant will be loaned to TRIO students for the first year of service.

A team from the William & Ida Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, based at North Carolina State University, specializing in digital inclusion projects across the state will serve as advisors and independent evaluators for the pilot program. The A&T grant team consists of the university’s TRIO executive director, Chantal Fleming; communications and grant writer librarian Katie Kehoe, and librarians and associate professors Tiffany Russell and Octavius Spruill.

Also as part of this LSTA grant, Bluford Library will receive 22 laptops to expand its laptop loan program and hire four students to provide peer-to-peer support for loan program participants. This support will include finding affordable home internet options, such as using the Affordable Connectivity Program that connects students to laptops and technology at Bluford Library and offering basic technology support to help students access school resources.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Bluford Library saw an increased need for technology support for student success in the classroom – a need that continues as it consistently loans all laptops in its lending program. This grant will allow for both expanding the program and providing the necessary support students need to be successful in their coursework.

LSTA grants are investments that help libraries deliver relevant and up-to-date services for their communities. This grant is one of two competitive LSTA grants Bluford Library received for fiscal year 2023-24.

For more information about the digital navigator pilot program, email Kehoe at kjkehoe@ncat.edu.

Media Contact Information: jtorok@ncat.edu

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