Libraries Without Borders (LWB) is an international nonprofit committed to expanding access to
information and critical services to underserved communities around the world. By partnering with libraries, schools, small businesses, community-based organizations and civic institutions, LWB transforms laundromats, lobbies, parks, recreational centers, and other public spaces into pop-up learning centers. Through this approach, we literally meet people where they are—whether that’s a laundromat in the Bronx or a refugee camp in Jordan—to amplify the impact of our partners, expand community access to relevant and reliable resources, and equip individuals with the tools and training they need to provide relevant and reliable information to their communities, bridge the digital divide, reduce poverty, promote civic engagement and improve the quality of people’s lives.
Internationally, LWB has designed, implemented, and evaluated library programs in refugee camps, remote villages, and disaster relief contexts since 2007. Our US efforts have won numerous awards, including the Google Impact Challenge and the Library of Congress International Literacy Award. Supporters include the City of Washington DC, the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, Sony, Google Fiber, the Knight Foundation, and the Alexander Soros Foundation.
The Wash and Learn Initiative (WALI) equips laundromats with laptops, tablets, specialized software, Wi-Fi hotspots, books, and other educational resources, and then couples these tools with programming that aligns with the needs and interests of laundromat patrons. It represents a collaboration between libraries, small businesses, local nonprofits, and civic associations that brings relevant information and critical services to underserved communities through neighborhood laundromats. By training librarians and local nonprofits on best practices for facilitating fun, inclusive and educational activities at the laundromat, WALI expands and amplifies the reach of community-based organizations to new, typically underserved, audiences, those who tend to fall through the cracks of traditional outreach programs. Whether it’s English language classes, free tax preparation or digital literacy workshops, WALI meets people where they are and provides them with the tools and services they need to make the most of their limited time at the laundromat. Through this approach, the WALI has served families in Detroit, the Bronx, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Washington DC, and other cities across the United States.
The Legal Literacy Initiative re-imagines how low-income families access legal information by partnering with legal service providers and law libraries to bring resources directly into communities—from laundromats to day labor centers!
The Ideas Box Program in Puerto Rico created a pop-up library and learning center in Loiza, an underserved community that continues to struggle in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. This program strives to fill the gap left by the closure of public schools and cuts to critical services by transforming abandoned spaces in centers for education, resiliency and entrepreneurship.
The Fellow will work closely with LWB staff to incorporate a human-centered, design-based approach to develop technology and tech-based solutions for our growing portfolio of programs, with a strong focus on the Wash and Learn Initiative (WALI). As WALI expands, the Fellow will have the responsibility and autonomy to draw on the needs of libraries, community-based organizations, and residents to create and adapt accessible digital tools and trainings that are relevant to local needs and advance digital equity.
The ideal candidate will possess a wide range of technical and design skills, as well as a passion for equity and inclusion. The candidate’s professional and academic background should demonstrate an intense curiosity in technology, and a commitment to ensuring that underserved communities have access to the information and tools needed to thrive in today’s increasingly digital world.
As a member of a small and scrappy team, the Fellow must be a dynamic, experienced, and mission-driven person who values respect, cooperation and collaboration. The Fellow must possess both technical acumen and strong people skills. They must be proactive in addressing challenges and willing to take initiative; to explore ideas, options, and scenarios that may not be readily obvious in order to identify and design constructive solutions.
Most importantly, the Fellow must believe that technology is about humans, not hardware. They must view technology in a constructive context, as a tool whose value is determined by its application for the benefit and empowerment of people—whether in their personal or professional lives.
ESSENTIAL RESPONSIBILITIES & TASKS
❏ Create, update, and maintain digital tools and trainings that enable libraries and local organizations to curate educational content for select WALI sites and other informal spaces
❏ Design and distribute communications and training materials for meaningful integration of technologies into informal learning settings
❏ Deliver orientations and supplemental trainings for technology integrations (e.g. “How to…”)
❏ Troubleshoot issues with technology, both hardware and software, for LWB’s in-house team and staff in the field
❏ Coordinate logistics for project implementation, which may include completing purchase orders for tech and complementary security devices, furniture, and educational materials, among other items
❏ Train librarians and other facilitators on how to use and troubleshoot program curation tools
❏ Disseminate online training materials, best practices, and case studies that can be adapted by libraries and non-profit organizations around the country
❏ Forge strong relationships with community partners, librarians, local residents, and other relevant stakeholders (e.g. foundations, government officials, civic institutions) to solicit meaningful feedback that informs the iteration and improvement of digital tools, trainings, and programs
❏ Collaborate with monitoring and evaluation experts to inform the design of survey instruments to accurately, respectfully and responsibly collect data from program participants
❏ Interpret findings from survey data and other project indicators, and communicate major takeaways with relevant stakeholders (i.e. generate reports, present information at quarterly check-in meetings)
❏ Integrate data, stakeholder insights, and project learnings into the redesign of all WALI software and tools
❏ Present global learnings, digital tools, training guides, methodologies and best practices gleaned from programs at educational and tech conferences, as well as directly to library systems, implementing partners, and foundations
❏ Lead internal technology planning meetings and provides strategic guidance on technology solutions for the organization
❏ Contribute to general administrative, fundraising, and communications tasks as needed
❏ Track finances and maintain all relevant documentation pertaining to technology used for operations and programs (e.g. receipts, contracts, MOUs)
LIBRARIES WITHOUT BORDERS IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
Interested candidates should send a resume and brief cover letter (embedded into the email) to:
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Baltimore,MDPosition also open for candidates in Washington, DC.
- Salary: , With health insurance