BELEN — The Belen Public Library’s Computer Learning Lab has been named a 2019 Libraries Lead with Digital Skills Spotlight Award winner by the American Library Association.
The award comes with a $3,000 grant, said Belen Library Director Kathleen Pickering, who prepared the successful application. The Libraries Lead with Digital Skills program is sponsored by Google, she said, and an earlier award from the program helped establish the computer lab.
“We are so honored to have been selected as a Libraries Lead with Digital Skills Spotlight awardee,” Pickering said. “It has been a great opportunity to provide computer skills training and electronic resources to the community of Belen, and a great learning experience for us.”
Pickering said the grant will be used to continue the mission of the fledgling computer lab to assist patrons using the library’s public computers with any issues they have and to offer free basic computing classes on a variety of topics to the community.
“We continue to create and refine programs in our Computer Learning Lab to meet the real digital needs of the people of our area,” she said.
Since just mid-September lab and library personnel have aided more than 50 patrons with their computing tasks, including helping some patrons complete complex online operations critical to their personal well-being.
In addition, in October the lab conducted its first nine public computing classes covering several different topics that served a total of 24 people. Two-hour standalone classes are scheduled in the lab from 10 a.m. to noon, Tuesdays and Thursdays. The schedule is available at the library and on the library website and Facebook page.
Belen was one of 20 public libraries selected for the Spotlight Award, according to the ALA.
“We are so grateful to the Public Library Association and American Library Association, in partnership with Grow with Google, for helping us to support job seekers, local businesses, and the community at large with digital skills,” Pickering said.
Officials from the association will visit the Belen Library in the near future to look at the program first-hand.
Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.