Digital Literacy


This page outlines the different levels of digital literacy and provide links to different online training tools to which you may want to introduce patrons.

Table of Contents

Digital literacy involves more than being able to read and understand text on a page. It also includes the ability to use new technologies such as hardware (e.g., computers, mobile devices), software programs (e.g., word processing), and Internet-enabled technologies (e.g., e-mail, blogs, wikis, social networking). A certain level of digital literacy is necessary in order for patrons to be able to access e-government.

Basic skills checklist

  1. Turning on/off the computer
  2. Typing
  3. Using a mouse

For patrons who need to develop any or all of these basic skills, the following online resources/tutorials may be helpful:

Intermediate skills checklist

  • Using word processing applications

Advanced skills checklist

  • Programming 
  • Troubleshooting software/hardware problems

For more comprehensive training, check out (an online portal developed by the federal government with a wide range of tools for educators) Microsoft digital literacy training/curriculum (offered for basic, standard, advanced levels), and (a digital inclusion initiative launched by Connect2Compete that offers free training tools).

Social Media

Your users might have heard about various social media platforms but not quite know how to use them. Education in this area can address how to sign up,  use the sites, and adjust various site settings (e.g. privacy, as discussed below), as well as netiquette issues.

While Facebook's help desk is pretty informative, users may need help navigating the language and finding all of the relevant information on privacy, sharing, and settings. Similar issues might arise for other platforms. The Goodwill Community Foundation International offers a set of tutorials on a variety of platforms, including LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Skype, as well as blogging and networking basics. The Boston Public Library offers a nice list of netiquette tips for kids that could be adapted for adult populations. Florida Atlantic University offers a more detailed guide that includes things like acronyms, emoticons, and links to other resources.


Teaching patrons about how to protect online privacy and identity is important regardless of their level of digital literacy. The following resources offer information about online shopping, cookies, selective sharing, and public networks. - Includes descriptions of digital privacy and offers tips and tools for various issues - Includes sections of information for educators, kids, parents, and more

Office of the Privacy Commission of Canada - Includes information directed to teens, but resources could be used for all ages

More resources are also available on and