Laura Avià is the young facilitator of the Punt TIC de la Biblioteca Màrius Torres of Vinaixa, reopened a year and a half ago. She graduated in Information and Documentation at the University of Barcelona and has a postgraduate degree in Data Protection and Information Security at Pompeu Fabra University. Originally from l'Espluga de Francolí, Laura Avià did not want to waste the job opportunity to work close to home in the reopening of the municipal library and the Punt TIC of Vinaixa.

Laura Avià, dinamitzadora del Punt TIC de la Biblioteca Màrius Torres
Laura Avià, dinamitzadora del Punt TIC de la Biblioteca Màrius Torres. 2023. Font: Xarxa Punt TIC. License: All rights reserved.

The Biblioteca Màrius Torres of Vinaixa is historic, from 1982, and has been closed for five years...

Yes, since 2017 it has been temporarily closed because it did not meet the standards required by the library service of the Generalitat de Catalunya. But in 2019, the new government team wanted to give a push to adaptation works. And now it's been a year and a half since we were able to reopen to the public, adequate to the catalog standards, all computerized and with the equipment that a library and Punt TIC needs nowadays.

Has Vinaixa City Council made a bet for digitization?

Since the mandate of 2019, a Department of New Technologies was created with the intention of adapting digitally, for example a European public wifi network was implemented, which many people now use, work is also underway to implement a public fiber optic network and reopening the Punt TIC was also necessary for the municipality to offer internet access and digital training. After four years a digital boost has been seen. The Punt TIC de la Biblioteca Màrius Torres is the tool to accompany people in digitization. It is important that they have this space as a place of reference where they can come if they have any doubts in the digital field.

"The Xarxa Punt TIC is a prestigious brand: you are part of a network that has existed since the beginning of the Internet, democratizing access"

After these years absent from Xarxa Punt TIC, how do you value being part of it again?

I've been a user since I was little! I used to go to the Punt TIC in my town, in Espluga de Francolí when it was a telecentre, and connect to Messenger ! The Xarxa Punt TIC is a prestigious brand: you are part of a network that has existed since the beginning of the Internet, democratizing access. You see the logo and you already identify an identity associated with a free service available to everyone.

And how do you rate the services offered by the network?

I find the emphasis from the Punt TIC on the digital gender gap, girls and ICT women very interesting. But I miss the perspective of rural environments, because these, on many occasions, we have a lower digital level compared to the cities and we have to work even harder, because the digital gap in the villages is immense.

What characteristics does the town of Vinaixa have?  

The aging of the population is a characteristic of rural areas, and also the decrease of residents due to the loss of industry and jobs in the area, but we do find that we have a fairly homogeneous population pyramid. In other words, the population is getting older, we also have quite a few young people and scoundrels in the village. A fact that makes us a little more optimistic when looking to the future.

"We find elderly people with a mobile device who don't know how it works. This was one of the first needs we detected when we opened»

What digital gap have you detected in the population of Vinaixa?

With the reopening we detected a digital gap linked to the elderly. They have little knowledge of computers and the Internet, we focus more on mobile because it is what they have at hand. We encountered many cases that want to start using the mobile phone, but they don't know about it and they don't have any kind of support at home, the children don't want to take responsibility and the grandchildren even less.

In this new reopening, what do you want your Punt TIC to be?

We want the Punt TIC to be a tool to combat the digital divide, for this reason all of last year we held initial workshops on mobile use because before we start doing more innovative activities, we must first make everyone feel integrated in the digital world. But in the short-term future, we plan to do training to fight disinformation, safety on the networks, especially for minors, teaching how to surf the Internet, doing online courses, but we quickly realized that if we don't start with the basics, we won't get away with it.

"The broadcasting channel to inform the elderly is the proclamation"

How do you reach your users?

Word of mouth works a lot and so does the announcement. It is our broadcast channel for the elderly. Through the village loudspeaker, news and activities of the library and the training of the Punt TIC are reported every day.