Yakama Nation Library

Toppenish, WA

Describe the need that you’re trying to address.

Native American reservations have not been able to cross the Digital Divide due to the lack of internet services. The lack of internet access can effect education, job skills, and communication. Internet service providers offer limited service outside of the city limits of Toppenish, & the surrounding area. The lack of access to information technology on reservations is also a major barrier to Native Americans trying to gain employment in the current technology driven economy. Library patrons request assistance in filling out online job applications, online unemployment services, and other services that have transitioned to online applications. The Striving to Achieve: Helping Native American Students report states Native students perform two to three grade levels below their white peers in reading and mathematics. High unemployment and poverty are directly connected to the lack of basic infrastructure and access to technology on reservations. The report titled Digital Inclusion in Native Communities: The Role of Tribal Libraries states “appropriate tribal library infrastructure, services, and training cans help Native community members gain the same quality of life benefits that mainstream American citizens achieve through digital inclusion.”

What would be a successful outcome for your project?

What would be a successful outcome for your project?Success would be the convenience of expanded immediate accessibility of internet resources to community members. This project would be a start in the right direction to educate leadership about the benefits of utilizing TV Whitespace for the community. Some library patrons travel over 30 miles on limited public transportation to utilize our computers that have internet access. This could provide data and demonstrate the need for expanded wifi services in central tribal community centers.

The desired outcome will be to strengthen the community digital literacy skills that make them better equipped to access quality educational opportunities, career opportunities, and a variety of other online resources. Community members can utilize the internet to access medical information, opportunity to obtain online education, complete homework research assignments, communicate online, and use it for their leisure. Having internet access conveniently available would also create new users of the internet. Expanded access also provides opportunity for the library to provide offsite computer classes.

Dissemination of the Yakama Nation Library Leading with TV WhiteSpace project information will be included at tribal meetings, library newsletters, library social media, Yakama Nation website, Yakama Nation Radio KYNR, local radio & newspapers, library meetings.

There are several well attended community events that the Library will participate in by setting up a booth along with providing temporary wi-fi hot spot to promote the locations of the TV WhiteSpace locations. We will also display devices during the community events to attract & recruit patrons to our information booth and to conduct impromptu digital literacy teaching lessons about how to access the hot spots.

This project would also assist the Library in enhancing the onsite wi-fi access service at the library. The library is currently utilizing an internal network that was not intended to be offered for public use. Having a designated radio for the library would alleviate bandwidth strain on our network.

Library Administrator Plans:

  • Will oversee project & communicate with leaders to provide information & needs of the project, will initiate communication with the Yakama Nation Public Safety Committee and Yakama Nation Disaster Planning to evaluate how to utilize the service in emergency situations
  • Will implement plans to designate the Library and tentatively Yakama Nation Tribal School to serve as support to the Disaster Response team during times of emergency.
  • Will communicate with Leaders of Fire Management to offer capabilities to support their base camps within a 6 mile radius as a pop-up hot spot to support their communications. Yakama Nation Fire Management along with Yakama Nation Police Headquarters is located within 2 miles of the library.
  • Will obligate the budget as necessary and obtain quotes to get equipment, accessories needed to support the antennae & radios, power supply to support the equipment, signage to promote the designated wi-fi zones
  • Tentative radio locations would be Tribal Housing communities (Wanity & New Addition)within a 6 mile radius, Indian Health Services, Yakama Nation Tribal School, Yakama Nation Community Center, Potential locations would be prioritized as the budget allows
Please list your team members or partners and their roles
  • Merida Kipp, Yakama Nation Library Administrator: Bachelors in Computer Science, Masters in Library and Information Science, Masters in Information Technology & Administrative Management • Microsoft IT Academy Instructor, Microsoft Certified in PowerPoint & Word. Stays informed about digital literacy through participation in YN Networks planning meetings, Microsoft IT Academy, Washington State Library Digital Literacy team meetings, and attendance at Washington State/ATNI/FCC Tribal Broadband workshops.
  • SJ SU Circle of Learning member
  • American Library Association member
  • American Indian Library Association member
  • Washington State Library Digital Literacy Team member
  • Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians
  • Communities Connect/EdLab
  • Broadband Technology Opportunity Program

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