Little Current library program brings unthreatening tech literacy to seniors

Seniors get tech savvy at the Little Current Public Library’s ‘Get With the New Technology’ program.

NORTHEAST TOWN—The Internet, World Wide Web, texting, tweeting, cut and paste, post, email and that darn ‘any’ key. Modern technology can seem so totally overwhelming at times and should a senior turn to a member of one of the younger generations for some familial tech support, the whirlwind cascade of terminology and concepts tends to leave them even more confused than when they started out. For an intrepid group of seniors attending the Little Current Public Library’s ‘Get With the New Technology’ program, techno-salvation is now close at hand.

The library has harnessed a $24,600 grant from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program to offer the series of free afternoon classes with facilitator Wes Cline.

[pullquote]“We will use the funds to pay the salary of a project manager (Karen Gallo) and a facilitator, and to purchase supplies to run the program,” said library committee member Maureen Armstrong. “The program runs every Wednesday afternoon at the library from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm, from May to March 2015.”[/pullquote]

The program has already had four sessions with 12 participants, notes Ms. Armstrong. “This program is a welcome addition to the library as it brings seniors into the library and provides a social environment to learn how to understand and use their technological devices at a comfortable pace that they can not otherwise access,” she said. “The grant was received with the assistance of the Northeast Town town office staff, the staff of the library and the grant committee of the library board.”

Participants in the program begin with the basic skills of an introduction to Windows 7 and 8, how to set up email and a Facebook account, opening and saving files, downloading pictures and videos, copying photos from a camera, some basic photo editing and copying onto a DVD. More advanced subjects in later sessions cover file types, storage, backing up data, antivirus programs and dealing with printers, various aspects of Microsoft Office, downloading music and using Skype.

“We try to make sure that the technology isn’t as threatening,” said Mr. Cline, who has a tremendous amount of experience in guiding seniors through the technological labyrinth. He has been working with seniors at both the Northeast Town, Central Manitoulin and Assiginack public libraries as a volunteer for quite some time now.

The Northeast Town library will also be continuing to offer art classes. “We had a fair bit of supplies left over from the previous program,” noted Ms. Armstrong. The program also benefited from an art sale last year that raised funds for both the library program and the Manor seniors’ art program.