Metropolitan State University Library

Partner AgencyMetropolitan State Library
Location(s)645 E 7th St, St Paul, MN 55106
Site Supervisor:  Jennifer DeJonghe, Librarian

CTEP Program Description

The AmeriCorps Community Technology Empowerment Project (CTEP) bridges the “digital divide” for new Immigrants and low-income communities in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area. Join AmeriCorps CTEP and help make the information age accessible to all.  CTEP is a project of Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN).

Site History and Mission

Metropolitan State University Library and Saint Paul Public Library - Dayton's Bluff have enjoyed a strong partnership since our building opened in 2004, and the missions of our institutions are complementary. It is a unique pairing of a university library and public library in the same building. Metropolitan State University has a long history of community-based learning and neighborhood outreach and are supported by the University's Institute for Community Engagement and Scholarship. Out of our 7296 Metropolitan State library cards issued in 2017, 2,263 were for patrons who were not university affiliated. Metropolitan State currently has 11,375 enrolled students.  Metropolitan State University Library has a total of five full-time staff dedicated primarily to assisting students and community members with their technology needs. Additionally, librarians at Metropolitan State are university faculty and teach information and digital literacy courses within the university curriculum both in person and online. Our institutions have enthusiastic and capable staff and a strong sense of connectedness between institutions and to the neighborhood. The library CTEP helps establish relationships new communities while we continue to serve our diverse student population.

Preferred Site Schedule for Member

The Metropolitan State University and SPPL-Dayton's Bluff libraries are open seven days a week. The CTEP Member would have the flexibility to schedule their time throughout the week, on days, evenings, and weekends as programming and service needs dictate. Currently, due to the pandemic, in person services and hours are more limited. This will change as the pandemic conditions improve, though it is expected that demand for remote services such as Zoom-based technology assistance will continue. 

Specific Site Responsibilities

The CTEP Member will support community members, Metropolitan State University students, faculty, staff, and will work with different campus groups to coordinate information technology skills instruction. The diversity of populations visiting the libraries includes new Americans, English language learners, employment-aged youth and adults, people experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity, and first-generation college students. Some Metropolitan State University students need to enhance their technology skills to more easily complete academic coursework and online classes. Most of the Member’s direct service hours will be spent on instruction, programming, and holding open labs to assist people who have a wide range of needs that depend on technology and information seeking skills. Some of these are searching for jobs, creating resumes, finding housing solutions, connecting with social services and working to attain educational and personal goals., Some skills and knowledge that may need further development include completing online employment applications, email etiquette/skills, using the learning management system (D2L Brightspace), introductory Microsoft Office use, and Internet searching. One of the great powers of libraries is to support enrichment through personal connections, social media, gaming, and digital tools that allow people to be savvy information consumers and creators. The CTEP Member would be encouraged to contribute to and expand upon existing programming, such as a monthly video game night and open technology workshops.

In order to achieve maximum outreach and attendance at classes, it will be important for the CTEP Member to be savvy and insightful in marketing their programming and connecting with other university departments to identify need. They will be able to use SPPL advertising resources as well as University communication tools. The Member will be trained on utilizing the various university marketing channels such as the university internal newsletter (Metro Moment), the student newspaper, the event calendar, the library website (WordPress) and social media.

The critical way the CTEP Member would develop our organization's capacity is by providing formal programming for basic computer, software, Internet, email, and job-hunting skills. The CTEP member will also help build capacity across the university by sharing the importance of digital literacy with staff and faculty. Collaboration with SPPL- through this program not only helps bring the libraries together, but also encourages a rethinking of how to provide technology and digital literacy support across both libraries.

Site Environment

The libraries provide a unique environment with one building housing a well-utilized urban public library and also a bustling university library that is open to the community as well as to students, staff, and faculty. The first floor of the Metropolitan State University Library houses a large open-space student computer lab with 79 PCs and four Apple computers as well as 14 computers specifically designated for use by community members. There is also a library computer lab/classroom containing 25 PCs available for scheduled use by the CTEP Member, study rooms, a large events space, and a lounge with televisions and gaming systems. We have laptops, Chromebooks, and collections including book, videos, and board games. In addition, the Dayton's Bluff library has 10 computers inside an enclosed area called The Zone. The CTEP Member will have a computer, phone, supplies, and other standard office equipment available to them away from the public areas of the libraries. Important qualities for a CTEP hosted by us to possess include sensitivity, a willingness to learn, and respect for the diversity of patrons including public library patrons, community members, and university students, many of whom are experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity as well as unemployment or underemployment, limited English proficiency, low income, and barriers to learning or disabilities.

How to Apply

Apply online at my.americorps.gov and click on “Apply to Serve” (be sure to search for the “Community Technology Empowerment Project” or “CTEP” when asked to indicate what program you would like to send your application to).  Contact: Joel Krogstad, krogstad@spnn.org or 651.298.8918.

We are committed to recruiting and engaging individuals without regard to disability, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.  Reasonable accommodations will be made upon request.  Alternative formats of this document are also available.