Advanced Digital Training
Smart cities/communities are built by smart citizens who are aware of and have the opportunity to benefit from what technology has to offer. Further, a smart city needs smart citizens who can contribute to smart city/community strategies and help build the city/community they live in.
Your public library could become an essential partner to help library patrons to become smart citizens by accessing, understanding, and purposefully using technology. There are tremendous opportunities for your library to link your digital literacy and digital inclusion programs and services to helping ensure that community members can contribute to and benefit from these current and future smart technology investments.
You are probably already providing patrons with access to and use of technology, such as, among other, access to Internet, use of computers, and training on Microsoft software, helping them become digitally literate and improving their skills to address personal issues and achieving personal development.
But you can also play an important role in raising awareness among your patrons of emerging advanced technologies as well as of training them in their use, which will allow them to fully participate in the development of a smart city/community. In addition to the equipment that patrons may find in a makerspace or in an innovation space, you may want to consider programs and services that train on artificial intelligence (AI), data mining, virtual reality, 3D visualization, among other.
Designing and implementing training programs on these advanced technologies does not have to be difficult and you may leverage on the expertise and knowledge that you have on training in general. For example, you already know that considering the needs of users is always a good idea.
Yet, in general, you will also find that there is less awareness about these tools than there is about more traditional ones, such as using Skype or creating and e-mail account. Thus, you may want to organize big workshops to present the technologies, discuss their potential benefits, and spark the curiosity of your patrons.
To offer training on advanced technologies, your library may need additional funding and experienced staff that can conduct the training sessions. Partnering with other community organizations and individuals may help your library secure support and resources.
For example, you may want to invite experts from technology companies and universities to talk about the technologies and the opportunities they offer. You may also want to have exhibits where professionals showcase AI-based tools that can be easily used by patrons or use machine learning to sort texts by genre, theme, or structure.
General resources on advanced digital training in the public library:
Whatcha Gonna Do when They Come for You? Libraries, Robots and AI: https://www.urbanlibraries.org/blog/whatcha-gonna-do-when-they-come-for-you-libraries-robots-and-ai-1
The New Library User: Machine Learning: https://er.educause.edu/articles/2020/2/the-new-library-user-machine-learning
Library Robotics: https://products.abc-clio.com/abc-cliocorporate/product.aspx?pc=A4677P
The Library & Community: Guide to Citizen Science: http://media.scistarter.org/curated/The+Library+and+Community+Guide+to+Citizen+Science.pdf.