AT&T and Public Library Association Offer Free Digital Literacy Training at St. Paul Library for Madison County Residents to Help Bridge the Digital Divide

Posted on September 18, 2023

In-person workshops build upon collection of virtual digital literacy courses created in collaboration with the Public Library Association

As part of AT&T’s* support for improving digital literacy nationwide, the company is helping the Public Library Association (PLA) bring free bilingual, in-person digital literacy workshops to more than 200 libraries across 45 states, including in Carroll and Madison Counties in Arkansas. These contributions are part of AT&T’s commitment to address the digital divide through investments in internet accessibility, affordability and the safe use of technology.

The workshops will utilize online digital literacy courses available through AT&T ScreenReady® and PLA Digital Learn. Created in collaboration with PLA, the courses teach skills ranging from technology basics to avoiding scams. The selected libraries in Arkansas include those in Berryville, Eureka Springs, Green Forest, Huntsville, Kingston and St. Paul.  To help determine which classes should be taught, community members can fill out a one minute survey here.

According to the U.S. Department of Education1, about 16 percent of U.S. adults are not digitally literate. In addition, about 40% of disconnected students face significant adoption barriers including insufficient digital literacy skills, according to a report from Common Sense Media.2  Advancing  these skills are crucial to helping bridge the digital divide. It’s important that students and their families not only have access to the internet and computers, but also have the  tools needed to use that technology effectively, safely and responsibly. 

Workshops, available in English and Spanish, will be offered on different digital literacy topics, and cover basic technology skills which include subjects such as internet use, video conferencing, cybersecurity, and mobile device basics and ACP basics.

The workshops in Carroll and Madison counties are part of the second cohort of an expanded national initiative and collaboration between PLA and AT&T. In 2022, 160 libraries were selected to be part of the PLA Digital Literacy Workshop Incentive, supported by AT&T.  The initial group of libraries held more than 1,500 workshops which helped over 8,000 learners build skills and confidence using technology. This new cohort will increase the number of learners libraries can continue to reach.

Families most impacted by the digital divide need more than just accessible and affordable connectivity. To truly thrive, it’s important that we also provide digital literacy resources that teach the skills that parents, caregivers and families need to support their child’s digital learning and complete other basic tasks. Together with the Public Library Association, we’re proud to offer online courses and free workshops to help adult learners advance those very skills.

Public libraries play a vital role in providing access to the internet, devices, and digital content, and knowledgeable staff to all — particularly to people of color and youth in low-income households. In 2019, nearly 54 million Americans accessed the internet in public places, and public libraries alone hosted nearly 224 million public internet use sessions. 

To learn more, visit 

*About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T

We’re committed to advancing education, creating opportunities, strengthening communities and improving lives. As part of our companywide $2 billion commitment from 2021 to 2023 to address the digital divide, we launched AT&T Connected Learning to invest in connectivity and technology, digital literacy and education solutions to help today’s learners succeed inside and outside of the classroom. Since 2008, we’ve committed to programs that help millions of students across all 50 states and around the world, particularly those in underserved communities.

About Public Library Association

The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 10,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders. For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext. 5PLA, or [email protected].