2020 PLP Innovation and Technology Opportunity Grant Recipients

To connect with any of the below Innovation and Technology grant recipients please email info@plpinfo.org

In Fall of 2020 we will launch the OtterPod, a social science and public humanities podcast by CSUMB undergraduates that focuses on issues of social, racial, and environmental justice aimed at using storytelling to validate different ways of knowing and diverse lived experiences. In future semesters we intend to expand the podcast to include other disciplines across campus. One of the most important  topics we hope to document is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the eyes of the students. The podcast will stream from the CSUMB Digital Commons, and any CSUMB students can submit episodes which will go through an editorial board review before being uploaded for streaming from the platform. Students can then list podcast production on their resumes. CSUMB instructors can use the guides to podcasting that we have created in their own courses  and have students complete research projects in the form of podcast episodes, which can then stream from the OtterPod.

The Library Makerspace at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) provides an inclusive, equitable, and vital cross-campus hub for inquiry-based, hands-on learning. However, during COVID-19 and shelter in place requirements, the Makerspace can no longer provide safe access in person. A cost-effective solution to this dilemma is to create and mail Maker Kits: an assortment of materials for activities previously accessible in person pre-COVID-19. These Maker Kits would provide sample materials for a variety of projects ranging from art to engineering, and include printed tutorials that relate to the materials provided with links to supplementary online resources. These kits will be mailed to any currently enrolled CSUMB student while supplies last. These kits will be offered as a supplement to free online workshops facilitated by the Makerspace. The purpose of the Maker Kits is to increase student access and engagement. Transitioning to hybrid learning or hi-flex learning models would benefit from the continued use of the kits. In person learning would still benefit from the use of Maker Kits as they broaden exposure and increase engagement.

Palo Alto City Library
Harvest at your library

Palo Alto City Library’s Robots in Library programs has won the Top Innovator Award at 2020 Transforming Local Government conference. It is also the recipient of the 2019 Top Innovator’s Award given by Urban Libraries Council. Using robots funded with previous PLP Innovation and Technology grants, we have designed our program series chiefly with children and youth in mind. We helped fill the knowledge gap between what our communities want to learn more about and what our school systems can realistically provide. With a new round of funding from PLP, we plan to expand the robotic programs by setting up a FarmBot at the library’s rooftop garden. Using this open-source agriculture robot, we will develop a series of programs mainly for engaging seniors in the community.

Palo Alto City Library
XR Storytelling

The XR Storytelling project is a 3-month pilot our library will undertake to test the effectiveness of a new livestreaming video production workflow against current methods. It is a hardware-based alternative to traditional software-based green screen virtual backgrounds and time intensive video editing.

Pleasanton Public Library
Take-Home Laptop Lending

Pleasanton Public Library seeks to implement an innovative Take-Home Laptop Lending program that utilizes LTE-enabled Chromebooks for community members struggling to find or afford technology or internet access during the Alameda County Shelter in Place orders due to COVID-19. The Take-Home Laptop Lending program will meet numerous strategic goals for the library, including to “increase assistance and instruction for customers in the use of digital devices, tools, resources and general digital literacy skills” and “Identify opportunities for increasing our partnerships with other City departments, local agencies, businesses and organizations to extend the reach of the department to meet community needs and interests.” (Pleasanton Library and Recreation Department Strategic Plan 2019-2024) Pleasanton Public Library will continue to work with new and existing community partners to identify and reach individuals with the greatest need. Throughout the program, PPL will continue to assess the success of the program through evaluations provided to Take-Home Laptop Lending users that will measure the impact on their ease of internet access, digital literacy, sense of wellbeing, and knowledge of the community’s available resources.

Our communities are doing their best to contend with the twin respiratory health crises of COVID-19 and wildfire smoke. With shelter-in-place orders in effect, many are spending more time indoors than ever before. As their environment is polluted with wildfire smoke, they often need to spend this time indoors with windows and doors closed. Now more than ever, people will need to address issues with indoor air quality if they want to live their best lives, happy and healthy.