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Learn at the Library: 10 Years Growing a Digital Literacy Program in the Public Library

About This Session


We traded in our “Quiet” signs for “Learning in progress”: Explore how an adult education initiative got its start within the public library and continues to adapt and scale. Consider your program’s pain points and make a plan to bolster student and staff support.

Explore 10 years of digital literacy growth with Learn at SAPL (San Antonio Public Library): an adult education program that provides individualized job support and computer training.

Embedded within City government, Learn has evolved from a two-department operation to one, from four computer labs to seven, and from four staff members to 15! We utilize a truly unique, totally free walk-in model that caters to busy adults, and can pick up where other community programs may leave off.

Join to hear our “learning in progress” and workshop solutions to take home for your own organization.

What we'll cover:

What does a library have to do with adult education? We’re more than just books and databases! Libraries are uniquely positioned as learning and literacy spaces, and San Antonio Public Library has gone a step further with our Learn at SAPL program. Learn is celebrating 10 years of digital literacy growth and is ready to share lessons learned with you. Walk through a decade of program challenges, change management, scope realignment, organization integration, data collection, pilot projects, and persistence.

This session will encourage you to think through barriers for your own students, what resources they can turn to in your community, and share practical experience for starting a drop-in digital literacy program either within your organization, or in partnership with community resources. We will also reflect this work inward, turning each question around to examine our program’s most valuable players: staff! Sustainable change starts from within and grows outward.


  • Identify what support students/staff need outside of class – where are the gaps?
  • Brainstorm where students/staff go for support currently- who is filling the need?
  • Imagine what more holistic support could look like- what could your program change?
  • Consider how change happens in your organization- how do you start?
  • Examine the case study of Learn at SAPL for inspiration.

Learning outcome:

At a conference everything is fresh and exciting, but then you go back to work and are drawn into business as usual. Does this sound familiar? Let’s interrupt that pattern.

After this session, educators will be able to articulate pain points in their own program’s student and staff support efforts and will be ready to propose creative solutions to leadership.

Topics & Focus

Primary Topic Area
topic - library programs
Session will also cover:
topic - digital literacy & technology
topic - staff, program management


PD other

Handouts & Materials

No handouts or materials available at this time.


Rickman, Michelle

Michelle Rickman
Adult Education Program Manager
San Antonio Public Library

ROLE general audience
LEVEL beginner
Product promotion?
Other info:



Bring a device


Breakout24 – RICKMAN

Page checked or updated: 6/28/24

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