The Times 

Columbia County Library Now Offering the Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment


March 24, 2022

DAYTON—The Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment, offered through Columbia County Library, is aimed at helping adults acquire the skills they need in today’s workplace.

“People without basic computer know-how are at a disadvantage when it comes to finding a job because employers expect basic computer skills for most jobs, including many entry-level positions,” said Todd Vandenbark, Library Director. “We joined Northstar because it will help our patrons have a better chance at getting jobs and getting ahead.”

The free set of assessments includes self-guided modules: Essential Computer Skills (Basic Computer Skills, Internet Basics, Using Email, Windows, Mac OS), Essential Software Skills (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), and Using Technology in Daily Life (Social Media, Information Literacy, and Creative Job Search). Closed-captioning is available and screen readers are supported.

Anyone can access the modules and take the tests online at At the end of each test, the user receives a page of results, which lists the skills that have been mastered and the areas that need improvement. Many community organizations offer computer classes that are aligned with Northstar Digital Literacy Standards.

“The modules are based on a set of basic computer competency benchmarks developed by a diverse group of literacy providers, business representatives and nonprofit agencies,” said Todd Vandenbark. “These standards help ensure that computer classes are teaching adult learners the exact skills they need to succeed in the workplace.” To earn a certificate for one or more of the modules, adults must take the tests in a supervised setting at an approved test site. Columbia County Library is among the community organizations using the standards as part of its programming, and offering the certificates.

To learn more, contact Columbia County Library, (509) 382-4131 or email


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