Expanding Library Networks to Address Digital Divides during COVID-19

This research develops a model for digital engagement that low-resource libraries can use to provide services for high need individuals in their communities. The project will design and implement technology training for librarians, design and implement a community-based cellular network that low-income community members can use to gain low-cost access to Internet connectivity, and support librarians as they develop and implement digital services that target these community members. Project results will directly expand the capacity of Tacoma Public Library (TPL) to offer digital services and positively impact their community as they grapple with the social, economic, and health impacts of COVID-19. More broadly, it will provide tools and resources that other libraries across the nation can use to overcome digital divides in their own communities.
Dr. Jason Young and his team at UW will facilitate this research in three phases. In Phase 1 of the project, they will provide technology training on topics identified by TPL staff. In Phase 2, they will implement a community network in identified neighborhoods in Tacoma. In Phase 3, they will provide guidance to TPL staff as they design and implement their own digital programming.

Grant Info


Jason Young


Chris Jowaisas

Start Date

Jan 1, 2020