New Mexico State Library

Fast-Forward New Mexico

The New Mexico State Library has partnered with the University of New Mexico, Global Center for Cultural Entrepreneurship, and 1st-Mile Institute to propose Fast-Forward New Mexico, an initiative to increase statewide broadband adoption and promote computer literacy and Internet use. The project intends to reach vulnerable populations, Hispanic and Native American users, small businesses, and entrepreneurs through small group trainings at public and Tribal libraries in 15 communities across the state. The partners estimate the project will result in 3,000 new household broadband subscribers, 1,000 new business and institutional broadband subscribers, and 3,200 new users at public computer centers. They intend to develop programs for first-time computer users that will address computer literacy and Internet usage. The New Mexico State Library also plans to provide training in computer and Internet use for small organizations and business owners. The Fast-Forward New Mexico project intends to improve New Mexico’s ranking of 46th nationally in percentage of Internet users, 49th in e-government, and 36th in broadband telecommunications when compared to other states, according to a report by the Kauffman Foundation and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. This proposal is part of Governor Bill Richardson’s five-year plan to phase in “broadband for all.”

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BTOP In Action
IMG: Fast Forward trainer working with a student.

The New Mexico State Library’s Fast Forward New Mexico project recently commenced digital literacy and small business development training sessions at eight of its 17 public and tribal libraries throughout the state. These libraries included the Octavia Fellin Public Library in Gallup, Thomas Branigan Memorial Library in Las Cruces, South Broadway Public Library and South Valley Public Library in Albuquerque, as well as the Aztec Public Library, Columbus Village Library, Socorro Public Library, and Rio Rancho Public Library.

In each of these communities, Fast Forward offers eight free classes on building basic computer and Internet skills, teaching participants how to become successful online students, as well as helping cultural entrepreneurs (e.g., musicians, jewelers, and writers) and other small businesses through the use of online tools. Since many small businesses in rural New Mexico do not have websites, these classes are important because they teach participants how to set up an online presence, develop a larger strategy for reaching out to the online community, and increase revenue through e-commerce.

Each class includes eight hours of training with about two hours of open lab time for up to 15 members of the local community. Fast Forward also tailors some of the classes to meet the needs of the local unserved and underserved communities. For example, Fast Forward offered classes with a Navajo translator at two libraries close to the Navajo Reservation and classes in Spanish were offered in Columbus, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces due to the large Spanish-speaking population.

The project also has a page on Facebook and Twitter with the latest news.

Last Updated: October 18, 2011.

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