Northstar Digital Literacy

Northstar Digital Literacy


"Take An Assessment" button

Northstar Digital Literacy

Libraries have long known that to succeed in the information age, people need the digital skills to make use of online services and computer resources. Northstar is a valuable tool to help libraries help their communities, and thanks to an IMLS ARPA grant from the State Library, it's now available to all Ohio libraries.

Northstar focuses on basic digital literacy skills—such as using a mouse, searching on the internet, and using email—as well as advanced skills, like using Google Docs and searching for jobs online.

  1. Assessments in fourteen digital skills areas measure proficiency and identify skill gaps. Learners who take proctored assessments through a Northstar subscriber location can receive certificates or badges, which inspire a sense of confidence and accomplishment as well as allow them to demonstrate skills to potential employers.
  2. Instructor-led curricula provide detailed lesson plans for teachers and can be used remotely or in person. The curricula is easy to follow, learner-centered, interactive and flexible. Each lesson plan includes a detailed teacher prep guide.
  3. Self-directed online learning provides individualized online instruction and practice. Learners can independently access original online content incorporating Northstar standards, instruction, and practice. When learners complete an assessment, they are automatically directed to the Northstar Online Learning (NSOL) content corresponding to what they still need to learn. 

As Northstar locations, libraries can create learner accounts, which track online learning and the assessments completed. When libraries become Northstar testing locations, they can award certificates and digital badges, which inspire a sense of confidence and accomplishment, and demonstrate skill mastery to potential employers.


Visit, and click the green TAKE AN ASSESSMENT button.

"Take An Assessment" button

Choose any one of the 14 modules to test yourself.



Additional training forthcoming.

oplin Mon, 11/22/2021 - 13:53

Northstar for Digital Literacy Partners

Northstar for Digital Literacy Partners

At its September 2021 meeting, the Board of the State Library of Ohio approved $60,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support licenses to Northstar Digital Literacy ( for all of Ohio’s public libraries through OPLIN. The purpose of acquiring Northstar is to

  1. help individuals assess their current level of digital literacy,
  2. provide tools for individuals to develop competencies,
  3. provide optional curriculum for library staff to assist in developing digital literacy skills among their patrons, and
  4. provide an optional certification process for libraries that are interested in helping their patrons gain credentials.

OPLIN is implementing Northstar statewide for all library sites simultaneously, but adoption at a local library level will be up to the libraries. Based on current interest, we are expecting at least half of the 251 public libraries in Ohio will go live with Northstar by early January. First-round training started in late November and will conclude in late December.

Additional training will take place in early 2022 for second-round adopters.

Libraries will have the opportunity to self-select with regard to assessment proctoring and certification. Our goal is to have at least one proctoring library in each county by September 30, 2022.

Additional updates for Digital Literacy Partners will be posted here as they become available.

oplin Mon, 11/22/2021 - 13:57

Northstar for Libraries

Northstar for Libraries

Digital literacy has been a part of library service since the first public computers were installed nearly 40 years ago. Public health concerns limited access to both library computers and face-to-face interaction with patrons in 2020.  In the meantime, patrons were pushed into situations requiring new levels of digital literacy: working from home, applying for new jobs or new benefits, and supporting online learning for family members.

Libraries are and have been engaged in the work of digital literacy, whether they have formally recognized that work or not. For many library staff, this work may feel like something “extra” that they have to do, especially if they don’t feel supported in that work. For library staff administrators, it is often difficult to find the resources to support their staff the way they would like. Northstar can and will be that support.


When does my library have to "go live" with Northstar?

Your library can go live whenever it works best for you. Please take your time to get as comfortable as everyone needs before rolling it out. We will be checking in with libraries in January to see how you are doing, where you are, and what you need to get to where you want to be.

What does it mean to "go live" with Northstar?

That is up to your library and your community. We believe strongly that Northstar can be an effective resource on many levels, and we think that it will save you and your colleagues time and effort with the digital literacy work you are already doing. Here are some ways that you might implement Northstar at your library:

  • Your library may choose to promote Northstar for your patrons to do self-assessment and self-directed learning via your website.
  • Your library may choose to use Northstar to guide your interactions with patrons.
    • You can start with the digital literacy Screener, available to staff among Other Resources in the Northstar staff interface.
    • You can use the Northstar Curriculum to guide your interactions with patrons in one-on-one or group settings.
  • Your library can offer Proctoring Services or partner with local community groups to provide proctoring services to your patrons, resulting in digital literacy certification that they can use for job searches and personal satisfaction.

Does my library have to proctor Northstar for our patrons?

You certainly don't have to proctor Northstar assessments, and there may be many reasons you choose not to do so.  But one of our goals with this grant is to have at least one library in each county that is willing to offer proctoring services.  It may be that you choose to offer proctoring for one or two hours per week by appointment, and even that can be a great service for your community.

How many administrators can my library have for Northstar?

Each library can have up to three administrators.  We recommend that you consider having at least two, so that there is a backup in place at your library. If you want to have three administrators, please re-assign the OPLIN account for your library to have Admin Portal Access only.

Where can I see the recordings of the previous training sessions?

We are recording all of the training sessions, and those sessions are posted on the OPLIN YouTube Channel. The slides are also available at

What other resources are available to my library for Northstar?

Please remember that there is a lot of support available to you in the Resources tab of the Admin Portal of Northstar. Additionally, we have prepared some resources specific to our grant that you may find useful, including flyers, bookmarks, sample press releases, and digital assets.  Those are located with OPLIN's other Marketing & Training Materials at

oplin Mon, 11/22/2021 - 13:56