San Antonio Public Library Digital Inclusion Efforts Recognized Nationally With Employee Award
Latino Collection and Resource Center Coordinator Emma Hernández identified as a Mover & Shaker by Library Journal
“I congratulate Emma on this prestigious award. Her efforts have helped the San Antonio Public Library advance our digital inclusion strategies and efforts for San Antonio,” said Ramiro Salazar, Director of the San Antonio Public Library. “Digital inclusion addresses one of the Library’s key goals which is removing barriers to access.”
Hernández began work at San Antonio Public Library in 2016 as a Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN)/Google Fiber Digital Inclusion Fellow. San Antonio Public Library, Each One Teach One, and San Antonio Housing Authority were three of 22 organizations in 11 cities to receive the Digital Inclusion Fellowship, a program designed to increase digital literacy and broadband adoption within communities that are struggling with access to technology. During her time as the Digital Inclusion Fellow, Hernández expanded the Library’s digital literacy courses, created a volunteer technology training program, developed a digital literacy curriculum, increased scheduled digital literacy programming at library branches, and integrated digital literacy into programming for adult immigrants.
She also piloted a Wi-Fi hot spot checkout program that provided free home Internet access to 207 residences in disconnected communities, and partnered with the San Antonio Housing Authority to develop the Digital Literacy Passport, a two-day digital literacy class through which more than 500 public housing residents have earned free, refurbished laptops. Hernández focused on capacity, expansion, curriculum, evolution, and partner/community outreach and in 2017, 40 volunteers received over 2,123 hours of training in order to assist over 700 members of the public with job training, software tutorials, computer and mobile device training.
In March 2017, Hernández was instrumental in the development of San Antonio’s first Digital Inclusion Summit. More than 150 advocates and organizations—including the San Antonio Office of the Mayor, 80/20 Foundation, Geekdom, NTEN, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and Google Fiber—from eight cities gathered to discuss initiatives and best practices to foster digital inclusion and equity.
After her Fellowship ended in 2017, Hernández joined the San Antonio Public Library team as the Coordinator of the newly opened Latino Collection and Resource Center where she continues to address barriers to access for marginalized members of the San Antonio community. The Latino Collection and Resource Center at Central Library is a cultural and educational resource that chronicles and celebrates the literature, heritage, and contemporary life of Latinos in the United States.
Hernández told Library Journal, “We live in a world where access to information determines the opportunities available to us. I’m eager to take on issues of Mexican hegemony within our Latino collection, attract new library users, and put the chola [a Latina with indigenous lineage] back in scholar.”
“Emma’s work is an integral part of the San Antonio Public Library’s efforts to narrow opportunity gaps that exist in our community,” said Salazar. “Her recognition is a byproduct of the organizational culture we are creating at San Antonio Public Library that allows and empowers staff to achieve excellence in public service.”
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