NNLM AoU Community Award: Health Literacy & Digital Learning in Rural Affordable Housing Developments
With the support of NNLM, Libraries Without Borders US (LWB US) will develop a model for quality health and digital learning for rural communities living
in affordable housing developments.
LWB US is a national nonprofit that designs programs that meet people where they are, providing the resources
they need most. Since 2016, LWB US has led the Wash and Learn Initiative (WALI), which delivers library services in laundromats. Services include
digital skill-building, early childhood literacy, and through the support of NNLM, a carefully curated health literacy curricula. In 2020, with the Minnesota
State Library and the Blandin Foundation, LWB US began exploring new ways to deliver critical educational and technology services into rural
communities. That research led LWB US to identify four housing developments in Hibbing, Minnesota that could serve as pilots for expanded outreach
from rural libraries to low-income residents. This NNLM grant will focus on Haven Court, one of four public housing developments in Hibbing and a
community of 102 families, where residents (many of whom have disabilities) are expressing urgent need for more health services and health education.
By redesigning the community’s meeting space into a media center by April 2022 and by creating a health learning curriculum for that space, LWB US
will build a proof of concept that thoughtfully engages librarians and health educators with residents in affordable housing communities. LWB US will
catalogue the curriculum design process in Hibbing so that the other housing developments can replicate the classes delivered in Haven Court.