Susan Reaves

Digital Inclusion Fellow 2015 – 2016

As Nashville Public Library’s Digital Inclusion Fellow, I am privileged to join a select group. Nashville Public Library was chosen as one of only sixteen community agencies across the United States to receive the first-ever Digital Inclusion Fellowship funded by Google Fiber and NTEN (Nonprofit Technology Network).

The program recruits leaders from digitally divided communities to work towards increasing digital literacy and broadband adoption in their cities. This is also a personal mission for me. With prior experience in IT and Telecom, I have seen the disturbing growth of the digital divide.

In Nashville, more than 30 percent of Metro residents lack home broadband access. The cost of network access, difficulty in finding affordable devices, and failure to understand the relevancy of the internet are barriers to digital inclusion in our community.

As the hub of digital education and public access to technology, Nashville Public Library provides computer skills classes and digital skills support for job search assistance in our Job Labs.

As the hub of digital education and public access to technology, Nashville Public Library provides computer skills classes and digital skills support for job search assistance in our Job Labs. As part of my Fellowship, I will help raise community awareness for NPL’s digital initiatives, provide enhanced curriculum and assist in developing new training programs.

Outreach is a huge part of this movement, not only to teach adults why it’s exciting to use the Internet, but also why it’s necessary and how it can improve their lives. In today’s world, basic computer skills and access to the Internet are essential when applying for jobs, pursuing education, and increasing job skills. Without effective and consistent digital access, high school students have difficulty completing online assignments. College students struggle with online courses. Others may not be able to access the bus schedule or find needed services. Almost all job applications are online.

I’m so fortunate to have this fellowship and to be part of the digital inclusion movement with Nashville Public Library.