Library staffer Heather Goldik offers some device help to a happy Facebooker. Photo submitted

COLUMN: Death by mouse? I don’t think so.

Check this Out with Anne DeGrace

In 1988 I volunteered to help at the Rosemont School Library, where the principal showed me how he would like titles entered into their newfangled computer. “Just click here with the mouse,” he said. After chasing the curser wildly over the screen for several moments, I said: “You know, I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to drive this thing.”

It’s good for a laugh now, but there are many of us for whom technology still boggles. No mouse, I decided early on, is going to get the better of me, and yet I can be as flummoxed as anyone by something new. It’s good to know in this increasingly digital world that we don’t have to be left behind to be devoured by the digi-cat, because help is at hand.

For several years the library has offered small group trainings about downloading eBooks and e-Audiobooks, using Facebook, and other digital basics. If someone wants help borrowing books on Overdrive, the Library’s e-Lending platform, we do our best as time allows. Now, for a short time, there’s help for even the most seriously mouse-impaired.

From now until August 1, Wednesday morning technology sessions are aimed at keeping your techno-rodent phobias at bay, as Circulation and Reference Services Librarian Heather Goldik and one of our awesome volunteers will help you tackle the basics. It’s one-on-one, and there are no stupid questions (there are never stupid question at the Library. We love questions). Just call to book an appointment at 352-6333.

The world is changing. Government agencies and others increasingly demand the use of online forms, and snail mail is no longer a preferred way of communication for many things. If you can cozy up to technology, the world is your e-oyster. This is a great place to start.

Gale Courses online, accessible with your library card, offer a great next step with live online computer courses (and many other courses). There, you can learn computer fundamentals in the privacy of your own home—just you and your mouse. Once you get comfortable with that, you can learn programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint; Adobe design programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign; and book-keeping programs such as QuickBooks.

Still daunted by the prospect of even starting a web-based course? Ask us to give you a boost up the e-learning tree by helping you to register. And remember, we have free wi-fi and eight public computers available for anyone to use.

Your friendly librarians are always learning, too, the better to help folks navigate the e-World. We take webinars; we share tips; we practice. A few moments ago Heather told me it was my turn to draw, from a box she held out, the name of the database I am to learn and report to my colleagues about in this spirit of information sharing. I drew Small Engine Repair, but when she wasn’t looking I swapped it for Ancestry (you don’t always need technology to be quick on your feet). I’m hoping to find out if I really am related to the ancient race of Luddites. I’ll report.

We all have our stumbling blocks, and yet, speaking as an experienced mouse-tamer, I invite you to jump into the ring. Sign up for technology help; explore Gale computer courses; check out iPads for Dummies, or any of our other great how-to computer books; download an audiobook to your newfangled smartphone; check out one of e-Readers pre-loaded with books you’ll love, and get comfy with a Kobo.

Fast-forward 30 years, and my mouse works for me, thank-you-very-much. Yours can, too.

Anne DeGrace is the Adult Services Coordinator at the Nelson Public Library. Check This Out runs every other week. For more information go to www.nelsonlibrary.ca.

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