The Stay Home and Read a Book Ball is coming up this Sunday, March 1, and we hope you will join thousands across the city in celebrating our most beloved and highly anticipated “non-event” of the year by reading at home in support of the Los Angeles Public Library.
All proceeds raised through the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball this year will directly support the Los Angeles Public Library’s Cybernauts program. We are delighted to announce that thanks to your support, we have raised over $95,000 so far – but we still need your help to make this our most successful year yet!
Who are Cybernauts?
Cybernauts are trained computer support staff that provide much needed on-demand technological assistance and small group trainings to Library users. On any given week, the 39 Cybernauts employed at 36 neighborhood libraries assist around 1,500 patrons with anything from setting up an email account, to using a smart phone, to creating a resume or downloading files. Cybernauts work to advance digital equity in Los Angeles by helping individuals and communities develop the critical skills needed for full participation in society, democracy, and the economy.
The Cybernauts program fills a gap in Library services, by providing a dedicated staff person to assist Library users who are often uncomfortable or inexperienced using technology. City funding to the Los Angeles Public Library does not cover computer aid positions, so the Library Foundation of Los Angeles provides funds for these services. In addition to being an excellent benefit to Library patrons, librarians are now more free to focus on research questions and community programming, rather than technical assistance.
Why We Need Cybernauts at the Library
94% of all libraries with Cybernauts are in low-income communities of Los Angeles, where residents are the least likely to have broadband Internet access at home, and therefore they already depend on libraries for computer and Internet access. We’re all aware how much computer technology is increasingly integrated into our lives, so the service that Cybernauts provide is essential to those who would otherwise fall behind. In the last year, 97% of surveyed users reported that learning from Cybernauts increased their confidence when using computer devices.
The Cybernauts program also offers meaningful part-time employment, professional development, and community engagement opportunities to young adults from the communities of the libraries that they serve. The skills that Cybernauts develop while on the job directly improve their own technology skills and help advance their careers.
Praise from Patrons Helped by Cybernauts:
- [The Cybernaut] is the most patient and knowledgeable teacher. She never makes a senior feel ashamed of their skill level. She can always find a different way to teach the same concept. She is outstanding.
- He was absolutely wonderful and SO patient with no judgement. Thank you!
- Although I am a UCLA graduate, acquired a two-year degree in Film Studies and Real Estate, I have very limited computer/ social media skills. She [Cybernaut] showed me how to use my computer to track Senate Bills and forward my comments to various Members of the State Legislature.
Testimonials from Cybernauts:
- Cybernaut at the Chinatown Library:
I gave a class on public transportation and provided patrons with a worksheet on how to use Google Maps and the mobile transit app. They loved the class and told me they couldn’t wait to use the train.
- Cybernaut at the El Sereno Library:
I was able to help a student and her mom with their financial aid application. They were impressed and happy that I was able to help them through the application and left grateful.
- A grandfather came in on my computer tutor sessions and was interested in how YouTube worked and how he could get the music notes to nursery rhymes. He babysits his grandchildren and plays the guitar…I showed him how to google and even how to download the music and he left happy.
- Cybernaut at the Cypress Park Library:
I helped a patron sign up for Career Online High School. We were able to sign her up and choose what courses will work best for her so that she can gain enough credits to graduate and earn her high school diploma.
- Cybernaut at the Benjamin Franklin Library:
An elderly patron began coming in so that I could help him navigate and use his new iPhone. His wife passed away recently, so he wants to learn how to use his phone to talk to family members. He takes detailed notes, and even though it takes him a while to learn, he has made improvements with his phone.
This program ensures that technological and online resources are accessible to all Angelenos by offering Library users on-demand and one-on-one digital literacy training and technical support. With your help, we can expand the hours that Cybernauts are employed and increase the locations at which they serve.
Now it’s your turn to show your support for Library Cybernauts!
This Sunday, stay home, read a book, and RSVP to the Stay Home and Read a Book Ball by making a donation to the Library for what you would have spent during a night out. Visit LFLA.org/StayHome to learn more and give now.
On behalf of our Stay Home and Read a Book Ball Chair, Laila Lalami, our Honorary Chairs, and all of us at the Library Foundation and the Los Angeles Public Library, THANK YOU for you your generosity, support, and participation.
We won’t see you on March 1, but we hope you have a ball while reading from the comfort of home – or wherever the pages lead you!