Auburn University, in partnership with the Tuskegee Institute and the Alabama Public Library Service (APLS), proposes to expand and enhance public computer centers in 94 rural libraries and 21 public schools in Alabama as part of a strategy to address unmet user demand for computer resources. In a recent study conducted by the University, Alabama libraries reported that more than 60 percent of their patrons were economically vulnerable. This project proposes to improve service for these populations by providing access to broadband-enabled computers that would allow users to search for jobs online, prepare resumes, use career development materials, and apply for employment, training, or related assistance.
Auburn plans to offer over 1,000 online courses for users seeking educational opportunities, along with distance learning and telemedicine applications. Auburn’s Harrison School of Pharmacy plans to test the feasibility of using video conferencing to facilitate transactions between rural residents and pharmacists. Further integrating the schools with their surrounding communities, student interns from Auburn and Tuskegee will work with library staff to maintain the computer centers and equipment.