The purpose of the Media Center Project is to provide the local community with free access to technology. This grant will help the association who founded the only public library in the community to further their mission. This mission is to provide free resources and education to the local community which has historically lacked any free and public resources. Currently, there is no place where community members can access computers and other technology for free. There is also a lack of computer literacy education outside of the public school system. This initiative will help to meet these needs with a Media Center which will be the first of its kind in the local area. It will include five computers, a printer/scanner, a projector, a sound system, a security camera system, and other equipment necessary to maintain and store all materials. The project also includes a plan to implement 100 hours of instruction using the Media Center technology. The three goals of the Media Center Project are: (1) to increase computer literacy among youth and adults in the community, (2) increase youth engagement and exposure to the arts, and (3) expand the capacity of local associations. This initiative will feature a series of classes and workshops that will train community members to utilize the technology for personal and professional development. Beyond basic computer literacy, this workshop series will include instruction for important competencies such as using Microsoft Office, conducting research, web design, and more.
Discussion of the Media Center Project was initiated by the library association members who are excited to expand the impact of their current and future projects. This discussion began when I was preparing to attend Peace Corps’ Project Design & Management (PDM) training in July 2019 with my counterpart. Since the PDM training, each association member has identified a role they can play in implementing the Media Center. Some have committed to gathering estimates and co-writing this grant. Others have committed to leading workshops or classes using the technology in the Media Center. As a result, the workshop series that is included in this project was designed to utilize the skillset of the association members (for example, web design, photography, and CV writing).
The association has reflected on ways to ensure that the entire community is involved once the project is ready to be implemented. This includes strategies for marketing the Media Center and ensuring that the local community is aware of the free resource. One of the goals identified in this project is to expand the capacity of local associations. Other association leaders will be invited to host events within the Library and utilize the Media Center to execute the events. This will expand community involvement beyond the members of the Library of the local community.
The organizers of the Media Center Project have identified multiple ways to ensure its sustainability. Firstly, the association has included a security camera system as a portion of the budget in order to improve security of the library facility. The building already has bars on the windows and the door. The Media Center equipment will also be stored in a locked unit. Additionally, the team plans to do routine maintenance on the computers with the assistance of association member, who has experience with computers. These measures will help to ensure the project is physically sustained through extra security to prevent damage and theft of the materials. Another association member, will be instrumental in the sustainability of the Media Center and its related programming due to his Masters in Computer Science. He has agreed to assist with workshops and has access to software he can use during the workshop series. Members who have experience working with computers have committed to training the other association members how to facilitate orientations for community members and maintain the technology.
Additionally, the workshop series will integrate the Media Center technology to build skills within the community. These skills will hopefully spark a greater interest among participants in computer science, creative arts, and professional development. The intention is for these skills and interests to last beyond the workshop series and create sustainable change