Strut your Stuff Lake of the Woods: Getting seniors, youth and businesses connected

Lake of the WoodsBaudette connects to Canada via a bridge built by local entrepreneur. Bernadine Joselyn was quick enough to make the connection to that bridge and the current growing connection/use of the Internet. It was interesting to hear what is happening in such a remote area. The Youth Center mentioned this was the first grant they have ever received. They just don’t have the volume of people to serve in the community to meet the threshold of some grants and foundations.

Also interesting to hear the impact of WiFi in the Senior Center – more people coming in for the space and the WiFi. One of the main dreams was to enhance the lives of local seniors and it sounds like that is happening. They have been working on a project that archives stories from local seniors and working to get seniors more comfortable with technology.

Otherwise, here’s a high level overview of what’s happening:

  • 50 computers from PC for People to new families. We worked with providers to give connections to those families as a reduced rate for the first year.
  • We have built WiFi sites and have logos for the public WiFi spots
  • We have provided training to businesses and seniors. It has improved lives of seniors – helps them keep connected to family and do research.
  • We have created an awareness of the value of the Internet. We have really set a new view of the Internet.

And some greater details

The museum is undergoing remodeling. But already we have seen big changes.

We have a genealogy group that has wanted to use Ancestry.com – we have given them access to WiFi but we have to shut it down because we didn’t have a firewall. With funding we were able to set up public WIFi and public computers. That way users can access the Internet and we can keep our files safe. We are working on a smart whiteboard – which will open new interactive experiences to our patrons, such as Skype for outside programming.

This will help us increase our capacity to serve more patrons and help people learn more about local history, state history and help us understand our place in the world.

Training for local businesses and communities.

We did a survey for Chamber members and area resorts. We set up classes based on responses.

  • There were three business classes: SEO, social media and Google Analytics.
  • We did classes with the community- getting started with your iPad. We are going to rerun them this fall. Also did a class on Facebook. Did a class called “All About Computers.”
  • Did training with staff at the hospital – with public iPads in the hospitals.

Baudette Public Library – updating the library was one of the primary goals

  • Offering new technology in the library and faster connections
  • Able to serve visiting business people
  • They have patrons without electricity – they visit the library and order books
  • People park in the parking lot to use the WiFi
  • They have 5 desktop workstations, 3 laptops and 6 iPads
  • Classes are held in the library w/10 stations and people can bring in their own
  • Use iPads for mobile classes – also got a laptop projector and potable screen

Youth Center

  • Homework access and help
  • Printing homework
  • Internet and computer help
  • WiFi hotspots

PCs for People

  • Way to get computers into hands of families in need – because many live too far away from the library or school
  • Some families don’t have electricity.
  • $9.95/month for a year. (Family plays one third, BBC Programs pays one third, Provider pays one third. Providers include Sjoberg, Wikstrom and .)

Senior Center

  • WiFi hotspots
  • Staff have computer in the office

At the hospital

  • They got 4 iPads in part due to patients who received iPad and bequeathed them to the hospital
  • The iPad was used for end of life visits with family out of town and to see new babies
  • Computers keep people busy at a time when getting time to pass more quickly is a good thing
  • There have been learning curves in the offices.

 

 

This entry was posted in BCBP, Blandin Foundation, economic development, education, Healthcare, MN by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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