“DART” will provide residents with direct access to resources and technology
Medford, Oregon (June 16, 2021)—A new mobile tech van will soon bring library services to more residents of Jackson County. The modified van is named DART (Direct Access to Resources and Technology) and is a library outreach vehicle, Wi-Fi hotspot, and computer lab all rolled into one.
“While the ‘digital divide’ has been on our minds for decades, COVID made it a national crisis,” said Carrie Turney Ross, Adult Services Coordinator at Jackson County Library Services (JCLS). “Many in our region cannot get internet access in their homes due to problems in the infrastructure. While the libraries were closed, and many people were working or attending school from home, internet access affected their very livelihood. JCLS DART aims to increase access to computers and the internet for those who need it most, while meeting them where they are in the community.”
DART will serve all residents of Jackson County, with a focus on those most affected by COVID-19 and the Almeda and Obenchain wildfires. This includes residents who have lost their jobs or homes, children and adults who have difficulty accessing the internet, and unhoused residents.
“I like to think of libraries as life support for people who are rebuilding their lives,” said Claudine Taillac, Assistant Director of Public Services. “With DART, JCLS will be able to reach people who are unable to visit a library branch to access valuable resources, such as study materials for GED prep or professional exams. Partnerships with regional employment services and on-location workshops for resume writing and technology skills-building are just the beginning of what this mobile service will provide to those hoping to achieve their life goals.”
The mobile tech van’s location will change regularly, and will be shared on the JCLS events calendar at jcls.libcal.com and on JCLS social media. Residents may also call any JCLS library branch to learn DART’s location that day. Its first stop will be the Juneteenth celebration at Pear Blossom Park on Saturday, June 19 from 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Upcoming stops also include Crater High School, Central Point Elementary School, and Hanby Middle School. JCLS will also partner with La Clinica’s Mobile Health Center to provide library services to those who are waiting for medical services at the mobile clinic.
DART will be staffed by a Mobile Services Specialist who can help residents sign up for a library card or use a laptop. Anyone within a 300-foot radius of DART can access its Wi-Fi for free.
DART is supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the State Library of Oregon, and from the Jackson County Library Foundation. Learn more at jcls.org.