The Baltimore County Public Library has announced a new digital literacy program

By Special at AFRO

Baltimore County Public Library has launched Northstar Digital Literacy, a free, online, self-paced program that teaches participants basic computer skills. Participants can learn about the online tools needed to succeed in daily life, employment and education. Areas of learning include essential computer skills, essential software skills like Microsoft Office, and using technology in daily life, including job search skills.

“Today’s library is a center of community learning providing opportunities for personal development to patrons of all ages, needs and abilities,” Library Director Sonia Alcántara-Antoine said in a statement. “Our strategic plan outlines our commitment to teaching digital, financial, and health literacy, which makes us a natural partner to partner with Maryland State Library and IMLS to launch this program. We are pleased to offer this extended service to our customers.

To participate, customers are encouraged to take an online literary assessment to gauge their skill level. This test can be taken independently on our website at bcpl.info or proctored at branches in North Point, Randallstown or Towson.

After an initial assessment, each client receives a recommended program to explore further training, certifications or career paths. This content can be viewed online with customer technology, by borrowing a Chromebook and library hotspot, or by visiting one of our 19 branches to use a public computer.

Completion of each course qualifies customers for an online badge or certificate during proctored sessions at the branches listed above. These badges and certificates can be empowering and help improve the lives of many people, including formerly incarcerated, stay-at-home parents returning to the workforce, or seniors re-entering the workforce.

The Baltimore County Public Library was chosen by the Maryland State Library to pilot this program with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

To learn more about the Northstar Digital Literacy Program, visit bcpl.info/services/digital-literacy.html

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Ryan H. Bowman