Building Digital Communities Worksheet
The IMLS Building Digital Communities Getting Started guide is intended to serve as a framework for community-wide planning. It applies a coherent structure to the broad spectrum of efforts collected under the umbrella of digital inclusion. Within that structure, there are goals and strategies that encourage community stakeholders to work together to achieve the vision of a health, prosperous and digitally connected community.
This worksheet serves as a facilitation guide for community collaboration based on the IMLS framework.
The first step in getting started is to convene key community stakeholders. A core group may include representatives from the public library, the local government, and a focal community-based organization. Other potential stakeholders may include academic libraries, philanthropic foundations, other non-profits, the business sector or community residents.
Once the key community leaders are identified, the exercises in this workbook are designed to facilitate collaboration among them to work toward achieving digital inclusion goals.
Defining the Vision
Defining a shared vision for the community as a whole is an important step toward thinking beyond the individual organizations and developing a shared understanding of digital inclusion.
Current Digital Inclusion Activities
Take this step to acknowledge the work that is already being done and establish a baseline to build upon. Once each stakeholder has a picture of their organization’s activities, compare charts to see the collective view of where the community stands in its progress toward digital inclusion.
Shared Community Priorities
Based on your vision for community-wide digital inclusion and building on the current activities, work together to define the shared priorities, which will guide a comprehensive plan of action.
Collaborative Strategic Planning
Before proceeding with collaborative planning, take this step to record what has made for successful collaborations in the past. Reflecting on the challenges encountered and the resulting solutions will help to prepare your team for obstacles in the path of progress toward digital inclusion.
Champions and Stakeholders
With the shared community priorities defined, consider who else should be at the planning table.
Getting Stakeholder Buy-in
When each stakeholder has a clear understanding of their purpose in the collaboration and of the benefit to participating, the partnership will be stronger and more trust-based.
Commitment to Action
With the shared priorities, planning strategies and stakeholders determined, it’s time to commit to specific steps to achieve the goals.
Making the Case for Digital Inclusion
As key community leaders, you will need to articulate your digital inclusion vision and purpose to others. Although each stakeholder will play a unique role and engage in different activities, it is critical to develop a cohesive message with a common language.
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