City of Evanston Reminds Residents of Digital Resources, Programming as Part of Digital Inclusion Week
In recognition of Digital Inclusion Week, October 7-11, the City of Evanston is reminding residents of resources and programs available to help break down the digital divide and promote digital equity in Evanston, including free Wi-Fi access, digital literacy programming, open data resources, and more.
Digital Inclusion Week, sponsored by the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, aims to raise awareness of solutions addressing home internet access, personal devices and local technology training and support programs.
Internet Accessibility Resources
According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 27 percent of Americans don't have broadband internet service at home. In order to increase access, residents are encouraged to take advantage of numerous free Wi-Fi locations throughout Evanston, such as libraries, community centers and cafes, using the City's free Wi-Fi map.
Additionally, Evanston residents ages 16 or older who are cardholders of the Evanston Public Library (EPL) can “Borrow the Internet” through the Wi-Fi Hotspot lending program. Wi-Fi Hotspots are small, portable devices that let patrons bring free internet service into their homes or wherever service is desired for up to four weeks at a time. More information about the program is available at epl.org/wifi-hotspots or by calling 847-448-8620.
Comcast also provides an Internet Essential program, bringing affordable internet to eligible households for $10 a month. Residents may qualify if they are eligible for public assistance programs, such as the National School Lunch Program, Housing Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, and others. To learn more or apply, residents should visit internetessential
Digital Literacy Programs
The Evanston Public Library helps residents develop digital literacy skills with a curriculum of basic computer skills classes offered on an ongoing basis. Classes include Computer Basics, Internet Basics, Email Basics, and Microsoft Word Basics. The Library also offers half-hour one-on-one sessions weekly in English or Spanish to help answer personal computer or mobile device questions. Those interested can sign up at the third floor Reference Desk.
The Levy Senior Center also offers computer classes and the use of the open Computer Lab to Levy Center members year round. For more information, residents should dial 847-448-8250.
Open Data Portal
The City of Evanston's open data portal, Open Evanston, provides residents with access to hundreds of datasets, including parks information, maps, crime reports, inspections and much more. Community members are invited to join City staff for an overview of Open Evanston on Tuesday, November 5, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or Thursday, November 7, 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Lorraine H. Morton Civic Center, Room 2404. Community members can sign up to learn how open data works at the City and how they can contribute and gain new insights into Evanston. The session will focus on navigating the portal, using existing tools for data storytelling, and understanding residents' needs for data and transparency. Community members can contact Hillary Beata at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
For more information, please call/text 847-448-4311 or simply dial 3-1-1 while in Evanston.