Recap: Digital Inclusion Week

Earlier this month, the Tech Access team at the Kansas City Public Library hosted events to promote Digital Inclusion Week, October 5-9 – dates designated in a mayoral proclamation by Quinton Lucas. This annual event, spearheaded by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, promotes digital equity efforts across the country and helps people enact change in their communities.

The national theme of Digital Inclusion Week this year was “Turning Our Moment into Movement.” In most cases, Digital Inclusion Week events emphasize digital equity, access to the internet, or technology training. This year, though, the Tech Access team decided to take a different route.

“We really wanted to highlight the importance of intersectionality,” says Tech Access Partnerships Coordinator Megan McNaughton. “Not every organization that we partner with specifically provides digital support in their services, but everything has an element of technology these days.”

McNaughton hosted tabling sessions at each of the Library’s 10 branches. Representatives of each partner group joined her to promote their programs and emphasize the intersectionality of digital equity, meaning how digital equity touches various areas of our lives, such as education, entertainment, and job seeking.

Through partnering with the Library, organizations lacking their own digital services know that they will receive them through Tech Access. For instance, Tech Access has hosted digital training for seniors living in Phoenix Family’s senior living facilities.

The 11 participating organizations, places like The Beacon, the Prosperity Center at Rockhurst University, and Literacy KC, provide year-round resources such as financial literacy courses, volunteer opportunities, and career and professional development training.

A plain white table with numerous flyers, pens, and bookmarks on it. The materials have the logos and names of KC Scholars and Gilda’s Club on them. The biggest flyer has the Digital Inclusion Week logo on it, plus a link to the Library’s website to learn more.
Every organization brought along something that set them apart, whether that was Twizzlers or highlighters! Photo taken by Megan McNaughton, Kansas City Public Library.

Dozens of patrons stopped by for free swag and stayed to share their stories. McNaughton heard from patrons interested in a wide variety of subjects. She says a man who once wrote for the Kansas City Star was thrilled to learn about The Beacon, a relatively new local online news outlet, and subscribed immediately.

Another visitor to the Digital Inclusion Week tables spoke with a representative from the Westside CAN Center about its community orchard. The woman pulled out her phone to show the rep photos of her home garden. As a result of their chat, the woman will give a presentation at the center and start volunteering in the community orchard.

Over seventy patrons total left with personalized advice about the topics they were interested in, including continuing education scholarships, volunteer opportunities, financial literacy and tech courses, various online resources, and information about the organizations themselves.

A table is set up in a library lobby, with a variety of flyers visible on it. A woman stands in front of the table with a man. They are deep in conversation, and he is gesturing towards the table. A second man is standing to their left in front of his half of the table.
The Digital Inclusion Week tabling set up at the Central branch attracted a lot of attention! Photo taken by Megan McNaughton, Kansas City Public Library.

Tech Access would like to thank the following for participating in Digital Inclusion Week 2022:

Two women smiling while seated behind a table in a library. The table they are seated behind is spread with tabling materials, including an extra-large flyer, a bowl of candy, pens, and volunteer sign-up sheets.
Mary Kay of Literacy KC and Carla Poirier representing Excel Adult High School during the tabling session at Sugar Creek. Photo taken by Yolanda Waldon, Literacy KC.