This page exists to share resources and experiences about CyberNavigating in different locations across the Chicago area.
What is a CyberNavigator (CN)?
CyberNavigators are technology mentors and trainers. According to the Chicago Public Library (CPL) Foundation, CyberNavigators are "computer tutors who help provide access to information resources for adults and youth" and are helping to "bridge the digital divide by connecting Chicagoans to a world of information that is increasingly moving online." By teaching new technology skills, they aim to provide equal access to information for all members of the community. Learn more by visiting the CPL Foundation's website or checking out this innovation piece about CNs by the Urban Libraries Council.
At Chicago Public Library branches, CNs "offer both small group classes and one-on-one sessions at 45 library locations throughout the city."
To read more about the impact of CNs in Chicago libraries, visit the CPL Foundation's webpage, "CyberNavigators by the Numbers." The civic organization Smart Chicago collaborative has highlighted CPL's CyberNavigators as a "benchmark" program that is "crucial to having a connected city for all," as well. To read more about how the CN program is "bridging the digital divide in Chicago," check Smart Chicago's piece out here!
What do CNs do, exactly?
CyberNavigators teach classes and provided one-on-one assistance around a variety of technology topics and skills, including:
- Basic computer skills (using the mouse, keyboard functions, printing, etc.)
- Resume and cover letter creation
- Email basics
- Internet basics
- Online searches and research tools
- Online job searches
- Assistance with online applications (health and education benefits, government info, tax forms, etc.)
- Assistance setting up social media and other web 2.0 accounts
- Using e-readers and other tools
- Editing digital photos and video
- Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)
To read/see firsthand accounts of CN services, check out this online comic book, "Cybernavigator Stories," from eChicago. WBEZ did a piece on the impact and significance of CNs, particularly in regards to CPL's CyberNavigator program, as well, called "Library's cyber-navigators help digitally illiterate patrons access social services." Read, check out the photos, and listen to it here.
CyberNavigating in Chicago
Chicago Public Library locations are not the only place CN services and programs are offered! Libraries, nonprofits, community centers, and schools, among others, offer a variety of CN programs, and every location, day, and community is unique.
|CN Program Location||CN Program Notes & Numbers||CN Tasks & Questions|
|Location and website||
- Pew Research Center, particularly their Internet and American Life Project
- Digital Hub: "Chicago Public Library Redefines its Role in the Digital Age"
- Chicago Public Library
- Smart Chicago
- UIUC Graduate School of Library and Information Science