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Through a 4 week workshop series taking place at the Peterborough Public Library, this project seeks to: (a) learn from, learn with, and listen to older adults in the Peterborough area about their understandings, needs, and concerns regarding their digital rights and practices and then, based on these issues and experiences raised, to (b) provide training and instruction regarding their digital rights (topics include surveillance, privacy, and security) as a means to strengthen older adults’ digital literacy, and consequently, their digital agency.

Facilitated by Nicole Dalmer, PhD and Lucia Cedeira Serantes, PhD, both from Library and Information Science, this workshop has the following aims: build older adults’ digital literacy, inform older adults’ of their digital rights and agency, support older adults’ as they assess their risks in their digital lives, instruct older adults of different harm reduction tools, techniques, skills, and apps, and more broadly, to raise awareness regarding how digital technology, big data, and algorithms shape society. This workshop will also advance digital privacy something collective, that we are responsible for one another’s safety and privacy and that we can support each other in this process. Importantly, this workshop will provide older adults a platform from which to voice their concerns, needs, and expertise related to their digital lives; a platform that is not always available to this population.

This project is intended as an important step towards building an understanding of older adults’ digital practices in order to develop more responsive resources and policies that better align with older adults’ lived experiences with their digital world. Not only will this workshop increase the digital literacy of older adults in ways that go beyond traditional digital literacy workshops (going beyond basic, entry-level computing skills to discuss important issues including security, surveillance, and privacy), but by involving Peterborough Public Library and by using this as a launching point for developing a toolkit for older adults’ digital rights, this workshop will be a helpful step in creating materials that will be helpful for older adults as well as for librarians who may be working with and engaging with older adults with regards to digital rights and digital hygiene.


privacy, surveillance, confidentiality, digital environment, digital rights, digital hygiene

Dr. Nicole K. Dalmer, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Sociology, Trent University

Dr. Lucia Cedeira Serantes, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, The University of Western Ontario


Library Freedom Project;

Library Freedom Institute;

Digital Justice Lab;



Research Areas:

Critical Mediations

Telecommunication Technologies

ACT Partners
Concordia University

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