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To kick off our new success stories
section of TechSoup.org we launched a contest last month for great digital
inclusion stories. We called it the TechSoup
‘Digital Connector’ Story Challenge. The challenge was that organizations
had to tell their story with very few words – under 1,000 characters to be
course got lots of great stories, and our winner is the Pottsboro Area Library
in Texas. Their prize was a Dell Latitude Tablet 10. Pottsboro is a small town
located 75 minutes north of Dallas on the Texas-Oklahoma border. The town has many retirees
and low-income families. Forty-two percent of Pottsboro’s school children are
eligible for the National
School Lunch Program.
When president of the operating board, Dianne Connery came to the library a few
years ago, she found a classic small town library situated in a converted post
office building with the requisite institutional green paint job. It also had
bookshelves packed with books no one read. She immediately got to work. What is even more impressive is that Dianne is an unpaid volunteer.
“The Pottsboro Library has made bridging the digital divide for
teens a priority. We've created a digital media lab. In a town of
1,800 people, this is HUGE! Purchasing Adobe Creative Suite 6 Design
through TechSoup made it possible to offer training in Photoshop and Premier
Pro. A local TV station employee was hired to work with the teens in a
6-week course where they created a promotional video for the library. Now
the teens are branching out to other area nonprofits. They will be making
a video for Hospice and a wildlife refuge. This was a win-win-win.
The library has new promotional materials to use. The teens have new
skills which can help them in work and education. Other area nonprofits
will benefit also. A side benefit is that the TV station has taken note
and run stories about our library programs. This would not have been an
affordable program without the donation of the software. Thank you
Of course Dianne didn’t have room to talk about everything that her
activist library is doing to enrich her town. TechSoup’s Kelly Pasek gave her a
call to find out what else they have going around digital inclusion. They are
truly bridging the digital divide for two very different types of library
patrons: elderly people and teens. The library is much more than just a place
to get books. It is now more of a community center that offers training and
The library staff has been clearing out unused
bookshelf space to create a colorful Internet café type environment – complete
with espresso machine. They are seeking grants to create more training space.
how Dianne sums it up:
“I'm really proud of all our work but am especially excited
about our teen digital media programs. In a rural town, teens acquiring
technology skills can change lives. We are happy to be able to provide professional
instructors to work with the teens. This past Friday night we were selected by
The Pottsboro Chamber of Commerce as Nonprofit Of The Year. The town is really
energized by the changes they see. If only I had more hours in the day.”
tuned because we’re planning to do another success stories contest in April
that will focus and religious and faith-based organizations.
Images: Pottsboro Area Library
We are having fun in Pottsboro and look forward to seeing what other libraries are doing with their TechSoup products.
What an inspiring story! Love hearing about small town libraries making a big impact.
This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License.