Here in Hernando County, UF/IFAS Extension has begun combining new technologies with the reach of social media to educate residents on a wide variety of topics and to diagnose lawn and garden problems. Since the beginning of the recent COVID-19 crisis, our agents have utilized Zoom, Facebook Live and YouTube for teaching classes on a wide range of topics- from how to care for your lawn to growing strawberries, and even manatees and native Florida lizards.
Unfortunately, not everyone in our community is aware of these classes or is able to access them because of a lack of computer hardware and internet access. In an effort to ‘fill the gap’ in our underserved and minority communities, our office has created table tent cards for the Hernando County Library computers to promote our free classes.
From a report to the Gates Foundation U.S. Library Program:
Public libraries are providing access to computers and the Internet for many low-income families, regardless of the economic status of the neighborhoods they live in- and they provide the only access for some, especially the low-income people in low-income neighborhoods. Nearly 20% of the very poor are using library computers, and many of those indicate they do not have other access, even if their children do.
This type of outreach is important for those who do not have a computer or internet and also make use of the library’s services. This website (https://sfyl.ifas.ufl.edu/hernando/upcoming-events/) is fed from our Facebook Events page and will hopefully be a benefit to underserved communities in Hernando County.