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Feb 27, 2024

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Clifton Public Library Awarded Grant
Funds Will Support Digital Literacy Project

Clifton, NJ – The Clifton Public Library proudly announces their new project, titled “Digital Literacy… from City Parks to Home and Beyond,” funded through the New Jersey State Library’s CARES Act Mini-grant program. This grant, awarded by the NJ State Library & Institute of Museum and Library Services, allows the Clifton Public Library to promote and encourage digital literacy throughout the City of Clifton through the use of a Mobile Library Station.

This Mobile Library Station will allow library staff and volunteers to reach hundreds of people in need by meeting them outside of the library walls with a presence in city parks,  including Main Memorial Park, Nash Park, Sullivan Square, Washington Park, and Mt. Prospect Park, some of which will be in cooperation with the Clifton Recreation Department. Using the Mobile Library Station and several hotspots, the library will provide wireless services during these park visits to ensure connectivity while teaching individuals in the community how to use communication devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, and more. In addition, trained staff members will teach people how to search and access a large range of internet resources.

As an estimated 20% of Clifton’s 85,000 residents do not have computers or internet access at home (according to Data USA), multilingual flyers for promotion of these events have been distributed in targeted neighborhoods in addition to postings on the Library’s social media accounts.

Using the grant money, the library purchased new equipment to set up the Mobile Station. A rolling desk provides easy transportation to many locations in Clifton and offers ample storage. Three new Google Chromebooks and two Android tablets allow staff members and volunteers to demonstrate to participants in-person how to operate the devices, download apps, access the internet, sign up to the library email list, set up and utilize email, conduct internet searches, and more! To ensure that the batteries in these devices or patrons’ personal devices do not run out of power while being used, the Mobile Library Station is equipped with a portable charger. Each device will have WiFi connectivity no matter where the station is located due to T-Mobile WiFi hotspots, and styluses will be used in order to safely allow staff and volunteers to share devices and demonstrate how to use said devices without having to touch the same screen. Finally, the library has set up Hoopla Engage, a service that allows a limited number of free checkouts of e-books, audiobooks, movies and more without the need for a library card. The goal with Engage is to introduce Clifton residents to digital materials and encourage them to sign up for a library card to continue access to these free materials  This will also promote more at-home reading options.

Through this program, the library hopes to enable patrons to get the most out of their smart phone, tablet and/or laptop by learning how to research and access online forms to apply for resources, training, employment, and more. Patrons can also discover and check out books that their family members will enjoy as they also improve their reading skills and discover how to access quality TV shows and movies for free, either from the comfort of your own home or on the go! In addition, this program can help patrons make new friends and build skills in digital communications.

For more details on locations, dates, timeframes, and more, go to our website at cliftonpl.org or give us a call at 973-772-5500. We can’t wait to meet you!

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