Watauga County Public Llibrary is partnering with the NC State Library and government agencies to launch a project aimed at helping to address the “homework gap” impacting local students who lack consistent, reliable internet access.

Many K-12 students face barriers that prevent them from completing at-home schoolwork that requires the use of an internet-connected device, including lack of reliable high-speed internet, lack of sufficient devices and lack of digital skills.

The State Library of North Carolina, the North Carolina Department of Information Technology’s Broadband Infrastructure Office and Watauga County Public Llibrary are partnering to help families overcome those barriers and support their students with a virtual program that provides digital skills training and support called The Homework Gap Project.

Watauga County Public Library is currently enrolling parents and caregivers of K-12 students in this program. Anyone who supports a K-12 student in their schoolwork and is interested in learning digital skills is eligible to participate. Individuals interested in participating should contact the Youth Services Department at 828-264-8784, ext 3. The program dates and times will be announced later.

The Library also welcomes partnerships with local organizations that serve K-12 families.

Participants will spend eight weeks learning about digital literacy topics to prepare them to support their K-12 students. For each topic, participants will complete an online learning module independently and then discuss the topic with a group of K-12 caregivers in an online meeting facilitated by library staff. Participants will also have access to one-on-one help over the phone from Digital Navigators. Local library staff and library science graduate students serving as Digital Navigators receive training from the NC State Library to guide families in addressing their digital skills, device, and connectivity needs. This program design complements the mobile hotspot lending, device lending and parking lot WiFi initiatives in our community.

This project is made possible by funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

About the State Library of North Carolina

The State Library of North Carolina provides exceptional library service and exceptional service to libraries, helping North Carolinians live more abundant and purposeful lives.
The State Library enriches the lives of North Carolinians through access to information resources, strengthens communities through exceptional library services, and inspires
and supports literacy and lifelong learning for all North Carolinians.

About NCDIT’s Broadband Infrastructure Office

NCDIT’s Broadband Infrastructure Office  leads the statewide initiatives to expand high-speed internet access, adoption and use for all North Carolinians and serves as a statewide resource for broadband access, first responder communications and state-led classroom connectivity initiatives. In 2019, Gov. Roy Cooper issued Executive Order 91, which lays out clear directives to expand broadband across the state through a task force comprised of cabinet agencies, which the office facilitates and supports.