The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is the proud recipient of a $7.96 million Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) stimulus grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The Technology Expertise, Access and Learning for all Texans (TEAL) project is upgrading and expanding public computing capabilities and training offerings at more than 150 sites across Texas, including 38 public libraries, community colleges, recreation centers and health facilities. Improvements will result in an additional 2,000 computer workstations available for public use and more than 100 jobs (mostly training positions at participating sites). Texans will also benefit from enhanced technology training (basic computer skills and more) and workforce development training (online job searching, resume writing and more) at participating sites.
In addition to training classes for the public, the TEAL project offers free professional development webinars for library staff, including non-Texans, so that they are better prepared to meet the growing needs of their communities in the areas of technology, workforce development and educational attainment. These webinars also help librarians reach out to and serve often marginalized populations. TEAL already has produced 10 webinars, including a series hosted by the Texas Workforce Commission exploring collaboration opportunities and online job tools. Two other series addressed reaching out to and working with seniors and people with disabilities. More than 700 librarians and trainers have participated so far, not including those watching archived webinar sessions. TEAL webinars are free and open to the public, and future offerings will be posted to the TSLAC Upcoming Webinars page.
TEAL partners were also invited to send up to 3 technology trainers to one of several two-day face-to-face trainings hosted by TSLAC and presented by Stephanie Gerding and Brenda Hough, library consultants and technology training experts. Day 1 of the training featured tips and tricks from Stephanie’s book, The Accidental Technology Trainer, and fun, interactive learning activities that attendees could take home and use in their own trainings. Day 2 of the training highlighted Texas Workskills Development for Libraries (TWDL), a project of North Texas Library Partners, and the successful technology training programs of three participating TEAL libraries. Now the “Accidental Technology Trainers” in attendance are busy putting lessons learned into action at their local libraries.