The Westchester Library System (WLS) is pleased to announce the launch of its eVan Team, and the Digital Equity on the Road Project. This group of dedicated team members is committed to promoting digital inclusion here in Westchester County to help individuals and families in our County that need technology to access and participate in lifelong learning, employment opportunities, health information, and other essential services.
The eVan Team will make scheduled visits to community organizations and local events with a table-top display and a 10 x 10 tent filled with valuable resources to assist community members with information on how to apply to the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), get loaner Hotspots and digital devices from their library, obtain free library cards, and get access to online resources. Digital navigators will also provide tech assistance and promote online safety.
In addition to the eVan Team making visits, later in June, the launch of the official eVan mobile unit will hit the road and start to make visits around Westchester County as well. This mobile technology and information van will travel to sites throughout the County and is fully equipped with an internet connection, solar panels, and digital devices that will allow visitors to connect to resources and receive technology training. The eVan can accommodate up to 12 visitors with a tent and has 2,500 square feet of Wi-Fi reach.
“This eVan is a doorway to civic and cultural participation for all our community members. It is vital to provide digital access for education, healthcare, employment, and essential services. We want to elevate our Westchester communities, so everyone is given the resources they need to grow, develop, and succeed,” said George Latimer, Westchester County Executive.
The eVan will be staffed by two professionals, including a bilingual digital resource trainer, and the eVan Team will dedicate up to 20 hours a week. This initiative was made possible with funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) allocated to the New York State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and funds from the Westchester County Government.
“We are excited for the launch of our eVan project as we work to close the digital divide gap present in many of our communities,” said Terry Kirchner, Westchester Library System Executive Director. “The Westchester Library System is looking forward to providing individuals and families throughout the County access to technology to continue lifelong learning, pursue employment opportunities, and receive other essential services.”
The eVan Team has begun breaking that digital divide with visits to Neighbors Link, a non-profit that helps deliver education, community building, career, and legal support to immigrants. The eVan Team also visited the Interfaith Council for Action, a non-profit organization in Ossining that sustains community, diversity, and opportunity through affordable/workforce housing and vital social services. White Plains ComicFest was also on the eVan Teams list for a fun visit to the Galleria Mall, which the White Plains Youth Bureau sponsored, and the Westchester County’s 54th Annual Salute To Seniors is on the list too, with Wednesday morning visits in May to share this excellent resource with our County’s seniors.
The eVan project is actively booking sites throughout Westchester County this spring and summer, focusing on Mount Vernon, Mount Kisco, Ossining, Peekskill, and Yonkers, New York. For more information about the eVan or the Digital Equity on the Road Project, please contact Joe Maurantonio, the Director of Special Projects at Westchester Library System, (914) 231-3275 or via email to learn more. Please visit https://www.westchesterdigitalequity.org/ to see the eVan schedule or check out the eVan Facebook page.
If your organization would like to schedule a complimentary visit from the eVan Team, please contact Katherine Gasparich at PR To Remember at (914) 218-3968 or via email.
The Westchester Library System: A focus on community engagement and outreach provides the framework for programs and services at the Westchester Library System (WLS). Through partnerships with the member libraries, governmental agencies, service organizations, community members, Westchester County, and others, WLS can assist them in creating and growing welcoming, inclusive services and programs for all residents of their community and the County.