$410k Grant Launches City Library’s Digital Navigator Program

City Library

The City Library’s new Digital Navigators program is the latest way the Library is working to combat Salt Lake City’s “digital divide,” by providing local residents with direct assistance to address their digital connectivity needs.

Members of the Library’s Digital Navigator team are available for one-on-one telephone
appointments. Appointments can be made by calling 801-524-8200. The Navigators can help connect people to free or low-cost internet service and devices, and help with basic computer skills and training, including online privacy and security. Throughout the duration of this program, which will run through July, 2021, the Library will be working with University Neighborhood Partners, Suazo Business Center, and Catholic Community Services.

According to Census data, 13.3% of Salt Lake City households lack internet access, and 5.4% don’t have a computer in the home (source: Salt Lake Tribune ). This divide has been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has created a sudden, massive public need for trustworthy digital inclusion services.

“ The City Library recognizes the life changing significance of access to digital resources. A home internet connection opens up so many possibilities that some might take for granted: online healthcare, banking, applying for jobs, remote learning, communicating with friends and family, just to name a few,” said Shauna Edson, the Library’s Digital Inclusion Coordinator.

The Digital Navigators program is made possible by a grant totalling just over $411,000 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services , grant number LG-248566-OLS-20 . This program is the first of its kind, and will serve as a model for libraries across the country. Google Fiber contributed an additional $12,000 to add 100 Wi-Fi hotspots that will be activated for six months for participants in the program. Thank you to the Friends of The City Library for supporting the program, as well.

Stuart is the founder, writer and wrangler at several sites including Gastronomic SLC, Utah Now and, The Utah Review; Stuart is a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune and has worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.