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Metropolitan State University Library

Partner Agency: Metropolitan State Library
Location(s):
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 13 years ago, and the missions of our institutions are complementary. It is a unique pairing of a university library and public library in the same building. Metro 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 Metro State library cards issued in 2017, 2,263 were for patrons who were not university affiliated. Metro State currently has 11,375 enrolled students. Dayton’s Bluff SPPL provides staff to assist patrons with basic technology questions and has employed a CTEP in the past to provide one-on-one and group technology instruction related to employment and digital literacy. In the past five years, the Metropolitan State University Library has added an Information Commons Specialist position making a total of five full-time staff dedicated primarily to assisting students and community members with their technology needs. Additionally, librarians at Metro State have faculty status 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. New neighborhood homeless shelters and the construction of two new senior housing units has driven traffic up significantly in our library. A CTEP would help us establish relationships new communities while we continue to our diverse student population.

Preferred Site Schedule for Member

The Metro 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.

Specific Site Responsibilities

The CTEP Member will be serving community members and Metro State students. 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 students. Most of the Member’s direct service hours will be spent on instruction and programming to assist people who have come to the libraries to search for jobs and create resumes, and to develop information literacy skills needed to find housing solutions, connect with social services, and to work towards educational and personal goals. Some of the specific skills that would be most beneficial to these populations include filling out online employment applications, basic email etiquette/skills, introductory Word and word processing skills, and basic skills in using PCs and accessing internet resources. We also are strong believers in the power of libraries to enrich people through personal connections, social media, gaming, and digital tools that allow them to be information creators as well as consumers. The CTEP Member would be welcome and encouraged to contribute to and expand upon existing programming, such as our popular video game night, which we feel fulfills an information literacy goal.

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. 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 college newsletter, the event calendar, and social media.

With five full-time university computer lab employees providing one-on-one basic computer help to patrons, 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. This programming could be an impetus for restructuring how we provide one-on-one and group instruction to our patrons, and help us go beyond just one-on-one instruction to more comprehensive programming. Sharing a CTEP Member with SPPL-Dayton's Bluff would not only help bring the libraries together, but also encourage us to rethink how we are providing technology and digital literacy instruction in the 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, tablets, 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.