Dundee Library & Information Services hope to pick up a prestigious award for work undertaken by their Opportunities project tackling social, digital and economic deprivation. They have been shortlisted for the O2 NextGen Digital Challenge Awards 2016 that celebrate innovation, success and leadership in the UK’s digitally transformed economy.
The Opportunities Project was created to provide responsive support to those seeking access, skills and support to cope with the changes to Welfare Reform. Through the creation of a dedicated space in Central Library and the refocusing and rebranding of the existing Reference Library, the project offers advice and assistance to job seekers and benefit claimants and anyone experiencing digital deprivation, delivering targeted IT training sessions through a coordinated group of volunteers supported by library staff.
The project now receives referrals from a range of agencies including the third sector, welfare rights organisations and the Department of Work and Pensions for clients who lack digital confidence as a barrier to employment. Recent figures show increasing demand for digital literacy sessions delivered by staff and volunteers at Central Library. In April–June 2015, they delivered 1472 sessions rising in April-June this year to 2394 sessions, an increase of 62%.
Judy Dobbie, Head of Library & Information Services at Leisure & Culture Dundee said
“We required a complete refocusing of the traditional reference service model with library staff adopting a new way of thinking and of working, which they have embraced wholeheartedly. This is a ground breaking model which not only provides a template for IT literacy delivery but also forges the way for library services as a whole to be inspired to try new ways of working. Through this project, our library service remains at the heart of digital literacy by providing impartial support and advice to individuals.”
Since their inception in 2011, the O2 NextGen Challenge awards have recognised ground-breaking projects from all over the British Isles. The Awards are not for profit and are judged by a distinguished panel of independent judges. They recognise ground-breaking projects from all over the British Isles. The awards will take place on 13 October at the House of Lords Terrace and are hosted by the Earl of Erroll.