The program that the Loveland Public Library (LPL) would like to evaluate is a service that has evolved out of COVID and the need for digital support to low income and older adults. COVID exposed the lack of day-to-day digital access that many people needed to connect with jobs, families, and social services. To provide this valuable digital access, LPL used grants from the United Way and CARES funding to create a Pop-Up Computer Lab. LPL partnered with Aspire 3D, a division of the Loveland Housing Authority. Aspire 3D provides low income housing for seniors and veterans. The goal of the lab was to provide computers with access to the internet so individuals could get online and use programs such as zoom. The Pop-Up computer lab began in November 2020 and has continued through June 2020. During this time, the LPL staff has learned a great deal about the community and individual needs. This learning process has brought to light that for many individuals the issue isn’t lack of access to physical technology but the skills needed to solve a task-based problem. LPL is incorporating these lessons learned and is looking at updating the initiative for relaunch in August. The new Community Digital Outreach will focus on how we can combine the information we gathered about the people’s need to accomplish specific tasks on their own devices with an increase in digital literacy to support people as more technology is incorporated into day-to-day living. Since the goal is to launch this new initiative in late August and early September, evaluation will be built into the project from the ground up.
Using embedded evaluation, the Loveland Public Library (LPL) can evaluate the impact of the Community Digital Outreach. We will continue to work with the Aspire 3D partners. This allows us to build on the foundation created over the last 8 months. As we build evaluation into the re-launch, we will want to focus on three areas. The first is working to measure what success looks for the client when we train for short term task-based goals. We want to measure if they are able to succeed in what they sought to accomplish. The second focuses on short beginning tutorials. We want to measure if people are able to move from the tutorial to incorporating this into their daily life. The third is the overall impact of the Community Digital Outreach on people’s lives as they navigate the new digital requirements. Measuring these three areas will help the library develop community focused programs and allow us to use our resources to the best of the ability. It will also allow us to work with our partners to develop targeted programming that provides a higher level of service. It will also provide information for future grants that deal with digital skills and literacy.