Digital Navigators are trained, trusted guides who help deal with a variety of technology needs. Navigators work in libraries and other community organizations. They assist anyone in need with using a device, securing free or low-cost internet service, and much more. This service is FREE! To learn more about the work of Digital Navigators of the Hudson Valley, you can view our website here.
Digital Navigators of the Hudson Valley is looking for new navigators! You will be mentored by a current active member of the cohort.
--> Apply to be a mentor here (this is only for individuals who are part of either Cohort 1 or 2 of Digital Navigators of the Hudson Valley.)
--> Apply to be a Digital Navigator mentee here (this link is open to anyone in the region.)
What is this program?
The Digital Navigators of the Hudson Valley program will train participants from libraries and community-based organizations to become trusted guides who assist community members in accessing and using technology. The training will provide the resources necessary for participants to perform new services that include: assistance with affordable internet access, device acquisition, technical skills, and application support.
New trainees will be assigned a mentor from the current cohort of Digital Navigators.
What is the purpose of this program?
This program will prepare library workers and staff at community-based organizations with new skills and resources to perform the duties of a Digital Navigator. Digital Navigators will be equipped to assist under-resourced individuals in their communities to access and use Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). The Digital Navigator program will include the following:
- Access to digital literacy resources
- Quality technical support
- Applications and online content designed to enable and encourage self-sufficiency, participation, and collaboration
The program will provide training and resources that will enable Digital Navigators to:
- provide basic procedural training and support to clients.
- help clients fill out paperwork, submit required identification documentation (if they don’t have access to a computer/scanner/printer), and provide support in acquiring the necessary documentation.
- set up and operate a computer.
- facilitate, set up, and use an affordable Internet connection.
- learn “how to” basics for priority applications.
- Utilize the program’s protocols to assess individual needs, work with clients to set goals, track progress, keep records, and evaluate and report outcomes.
- Effectively use all available outside resources, manage referrals, and contribute to the functional knowledge base of the Digital Navigators program.
What is the timeline?
The mentor program will run from December 1, 2022 to March 15, 2023
November 9, 2022 Applications open
November 18, 2022 Information Session for individuals who are interested in participating
November 30, 2022 Applications close
December 1, 2022 Applicants who are chosen will be notified and will be sent a contract to be signed by the director of the organization
December 9, 2022 Contracts are due back
December 5-12, 2022 Participants will be required to watch six (6) pre-recorded training sessions and will be assigned a mentor from the existing cohort.
The training will cover, with scheduled break-out sessions to encourage discussion and interactivity, the following topics:
- Introduction to digital inclusion and equity
- Understanding learner needs
- Data collection and analysis
- Overview of local resource guide, audience, and community
- Skill share and sharing resources including tools and resources
- Privacy and Internet safety
Please note: All sessions will be held virtually. Participants in the Digital Navigator program will be assessed on their understanding of the program following the training.
December 12, 2022-March 15, 2023 is the window for program implementation. During this time, Digital Navigators will be expected to meet with at least five (5) clients from the community. Participants will be asked to complete intake and assessment forms and keep checklists when meeting with clients. You will be expected to meet with each client at least twice.
We will hold regular office hours every other Thursday at 12pm. The purpose of these meetings is to spend time with your mentor to talk about client interactions. You will also meet with the larger group for coaching, discussing regional issues, gathering feedback, discussing challenges and wins, and identifying solutions.
The scheduled meeting dates are 12/22/22, 1/12/23, 1/26/23, 2/9/23, 2/23/23, 3/9/23, and 3/23/23
March 15, 2023. Final assessments are due.
Who can I contact for more information?
Members of Mid-Hudson Library System should contact Kerstin Cruger.
Members of Ramapo Catskill Library System should contact Jen Park.
All others should contact Carolyn Bennett Glauda at Southeastern NY Library Resources Council.
About Digital Navigators
What is a Digital Navigator?
This definition comes from National Digital Inclusion Alliance, our partner agency:
Digital Navigators are individuals who address the whole digital inclusion process — home connectivity, devices, and digital skills — with community members through repeated interactions.
Navigators can be volunteers or cross-trained staff who already work in social service agencies, libraries, health, and more who offer remote and socially distant in-person guidance. Often at trusted community-based organizations, Digital Navigators are familiar with resources that relate to digital equity, and they help residents learn to use critical online services that provide guidance with food support, rent, education, employment, childcare, government benefits and more. They recommend resources and check back with the client.
Do I need to be a tech expert to do this?
No! The soft skills (listed below) that are characteristics of a good Digital Navigator are the most important. We have enlisted mentors from the current program to teach you about specific tools and software that will help participants succeed in this role. We will also provide you with a resource list to obtain software and hardware and with local connections to tech support.
What are the characteristics that would make a good Digital Navigator?
In order for a participant to be successful as a Digital Navigator, participants must have these six critical skills and aptitudes.
- The ability to embrace the challenge of learning and teaching basic technological concepts related to internet services, computer and device characteristics, and common online services and applications.
- Excellent self-organization, language capacity, and cultural competency.
- Excellent telephone and online communication skills, including the ability to establish trust with clients of varied educational and cultural backgrounds.
- The ability to demonstrate a positive attitude, excellent interpersonal skills, cultural sensitivity, and a sense of humor in working with diverse customers, coworkers, and the community.
- The ability to creatively solve problems, and negotiate and handle stressful situations in a positive manner.
- The ability to provide excellent customer service, establish appropriate boundaries with clients, and demonstrate innovation and flexibility
What are the expectations of participants?
- This program runs from December 1, 2022 - March 15, 2023. In these 3.5 months, this is the commitment you will make:
- Digital Navigators are expected to watch 6 hours of pre-recorded training sessions..
- Digital Navigators are expected to attend bi-weekly check-in calls on Thursdays at noon. These calls will last for one hour.
- Digital Navigators will meet with at least five (5) individual clients, and fill out both an intake and an exit form for each interaction.
- Digital Navigators will complete a survey and an evaluation of the program.
What happens if I miss a training session or check-in call?
We understand that life and work happen! If you have an extenuating circumstance and can let us know far enough in advance, we may be able to accommodate your situation. If your absence becomes excessive or hinders your ability to successfully complete the program, we do reserve the right to withhold the investment incentive. Letting system staff know about a potential absence as soon as possible will help everyone stay on track.
I have an accessibility need. Can I still apply?
Yes. We welcome people of all abilities to this program. If you require an accommodation, such as ASL interpreters, captioning, audio description, or the like, please contact us with that request. Requesting accommodations as early as possible is critical so we can ensure availability.
Why do I need a supervisor's approval?
Training as a Digital Navigator will take an investment of staff time and resources. Applicants who are chosen to be Digital Navigators will receive a contract so we can reimburse the organization for that investment and provide an incentive to keep the work going. An authorized representative from the organization (the director) needs to sign that contract. This program is not designed for independent contractors or individuals who are not affiliated with a library or community-based organization.
How will participants be selected for this program?
This cohort is limited to 10 people. A committee composed of staff from Southeastern NY Library Resources Council, Mid-Hudson Library System, and Ramapo Catskill Library System will review the applications to choose individuals who are suited to the role and who will be likely to make a positive impact on their community.
Can more than one person at an organization participate?
It is possible that we will receive more than one application from the same organization. If this happens, then we will be in contact with you to discuss the value of training multiple people from your library or organization. If there are available seats in the program and there is a compelling reason to accept more than one person, then we will allow them to participate.
What qualifications do community-based organizations need to participate?
The organization must be a registered not-for-profit serving a community in one of the eight (8) counties in Southeastern’s geographic service area, which includes the following counties: Columbia, Greene, Ulster, Dutchess, Orange, Sullivan, Putnam, and Rockland. Organizations from Westchester County are also welcome. On the application form you should describe the segment of the community that will be served by you when you are training as a Digital Navigator (i.e. marginalized communities, k-12 students, college students, aging populations, etc).
How will my mentor be assigned?
We will do our best to assign mentors that are geographically close to you so you may have the opportunity to meet in person if possible. If the mentee and mentor are both from the same organization, then we will assign you to each other.
What if I can’t get in touch with my mentor?
If your mentor becomes unavailable for any reason, a system staff person can work with you, or we can ask another mentor to work with you.
What resources will Digital Navigators receive?
We will be working with NDIA to provide Digital Navigators with a toolkit that will include everything they need to complete the work. This list of local resources will have information about Internet service providers, local refurbishers, and digital literacy information. Training addresses digital literacy by including breakouts for participants to practice reference interviews with each other. Trainees also receive a Digital Inclusion Resource document, which contains several links and descriptions to existing free digital literacy resources.
Will you provide marketing materials?
Yes! The grant will fund marketing materials for Digital Navigators to use to promote the service at their library or organization. Materials will include graphical content for websites and social media posts and a variety of printed materials, which could be in the form of bookmarks, flyers, banners, or door hangers. Digital Navigators will receive guidance on how to deploy social media posts; blurb-style copy for use on library website, in newsletters, and other direct outreach to communities; and a customizable version of a press release along with guidance on distribution/use.
What are the check-in calls?
After we complete the first week of training, Digital Navigators will meet with NDIA and system staff every other week to address needs that come up during program implementation. During these calls, you will meet with the entire group of Digital Navigators of the Hudson Valley, and then spend some time in a breakout room with your mentor. The time with your mentor is dedicated to discussing client interactions and filling out the intake and exit forms.
Compensation & Credit
How will the organization be compensated?
Organizations that fulfill the obligations of the program, which means successfully serving at least five (5) clients in their community with a minimum of two (2) interactions per client, will be compensated for their time. The grant will fund the payment of $300 to each library that successfully met these expectations.
If more than one person from an organization is chosen, will they both be compensated?
Yes. If each person fulfills the obligations of the program, the library organization will receive compensation for each person that completes the program.
How can I learn more about internet adoption in my community and the need for a Digital Navigator?
Take a look at The NYS Digital Equity Portal, which is an interactive, online data and mapping tool for New York State communities seeking to advance digital equity. Recognizing that access to broadband in and of itself is a limited measure of the digital divide, the NYS Digital Equity Portal allows users to generate snapshots of connectivity, device access, population/demographics, programming, and other digital equity resources from selected geographies across the state.
How is this project funded?
Digital Navigators of the Hudson Valley is one of several projects that are part of an ARPA subaward package. Take a look at this page to see the full range of initiatives being implemented using ARPA funds.
Who should I contact for additional questions not listed here?
Members of the Mid-Hudson Library System should contact Kerstin Cruger.
Members of Ramapo Catskill Library System should contact Jen Park..
All others should contact Carolyn Bennett Glauda at Southeastern NY Library Resources Council.
Digital Navigators of the Hudson Valley is supported with federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds allocated to the New York State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS; imls.gov) and administered by Southeastern NY Library Resources Council. The views, expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.