Meet Digital Literacy Guide, Jakeob Ward

Jakeob Ward, Digital Literacy Guide

Tell us about your job and how the position came to be.

The Digital Literacy Guide position was created towards the end of 2021 with funds received from a grant provided by the Windgate Foundation. CALS wanted to focus in on providing some one-on-one assistance for people dealing with technology-related barriers, something that the library system frequently encounters. From simple email account creation or password retrieval to more involved, hands-on instruction on how to navigate digital devices, portals, and forms, we experience a variety of requests day to day. We may not have the exact answer for every situation, but we strive to provide assistance where we can, and we’re more than happy to learn something new together with our patrons in the process.

What is your favorite part of the job?

Getting to build relationships with our patrons more so than you normally can when helping from the circ desk means a lot to me. The extra time and energy I’m allowed to put into assisting patrons one-on-one is incredibly important to them and helps with not only solving the issue at hand, but also in strengthening the bonds that people have with the library system as a whole. People count on their local library for so many things, and it means so much to me to show that we’re here for them and to do what we can to empower them in challenging situations.

What do you want people to know about your position that they probably don’t know?

Drawing from just the title alone, people might assume that we’re more like IT workers than social workers, but so much of the help we offer straddles that personal side of life for a lot of people. The medium we assist with is technology, but so often that is only a means to an end for a real-life predicament that includes much more than someone’s phone, email, or online account somewhere. I like to think that while the digital troubleshooting and teaching side of what we do is important on its own, it’s also just as valuable to people to just have someone be there with them in difficult situations, to listen and to encourage them and to help them feel like everything will be OK.

How can people schedule time with you/how can they seek your help?

Patrons should feel free to stop by the McMath library most afternoons during the week for drop-in sessions, and here very soon we will be stationed down at the Main Library on Tuesdays for much of the day for similar types of sessions. This will be part of a rotation of branches we’ll be visiting bi-weekly, so patrons can check with their local branch to see what days we will be stopping by. Patrons can schedule a time to meet with us as well:

What are you reading, or the last thing you read?

I’m jumping back into an older graphic novel series titled “Lone Wolf and Cub” that I stumbled on years ago when I was a page at Fletcher. It follows a betrayed shogun’s executioner who roams the land with his highly intelligent and capable three-year-old son in search of vengeance. It’s a bit graphic, but I highly recommend it to fans of classic manga series or of anything set in or around feudal Japan. Definitely check it out! (Literally, it’s at the library!)

Contact Jakeob | 501.225.0066