Denver, CO

Denver helps digitally-challenged residents get online

David Heitz

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By David Heitz / NewsBreak Denver

(Denver, Colo.) Not having Internet access or the skills to go online can feel isolating.

The City of Denver recognizes that not all its residents have the means to buy a computer or afford internet access. Others may have a computer they don't know how to work. That's why Denver has created four full-time "digital navigators."

The navigators will help the digitally disadvantaged get online and browse the Internet. American Rescue Plan Act funds will pay $150,000 toward the positions.

"The digital navigators provide individualized or small group assistance to community members in underserved neighborhoods who need affordable home internet service, affordable internet-capable devices, and/or coaching in introductory digital skills in order to become more effective technology users," said Olivia Gallegos, communications manager for the Denver Library. "This assistance is provided primarily in person as safety allows, but may also include phone, email, text, video chat, paper mail, and other communication methods that work for the learner."

She said the program would focus on "digitally disconnected" areas. That includes people who either have a computer but no internet access or don't have a computer at home.

Libraries will host navigators

Based on current needs data, navigators will be at these libraries on rotating days of the week:

· Athmar Park

· Bear Valley

· Hadley

· Hampden

· Montbello

· Pauline Robinson

· Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales

· Ross-Barnum

· Schlessman Family

· Valdez-Perry

Navigator dedicated to homeless outreach

There also is a mobile navigator who reaches out to people experiencing homelessness.

"Access to technology and the internet is critical for individuals to apply for job opportunities, housing and services," Gallegos said. "The internet is also a main source of connection for many to connect with family and friends."

Customers can reach the library's digital navigators by phone at 720-865-3446 or by email at dignav@denverlibrary.org.

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I've been in the news business 35 years, spending much of my career at local newspapers. Today, I report on Denver and Aurora city halls for NewsBreak. Prior to joining NewsBreak, I worked several years as a health reporter and branded content writer in the healthcare space. I also worked many years as a news editor and city editor. I consider myself a lucky guy to live in a great place like Denver.

Denver, CO
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