Computer Literacy

Digital Divide Road SignYou may (or may not) have noticed an added entry on the little black bar above this post called Cross the Digital DivideI’m here to give you the scoop on that.

While e-books affect library patrons acutely, it’s far from the first time computers have changed daily life. Many moons ago, when I was at the Reeves Elementary School over in the fine city of Woburn, we would have computer class once a week. I used to love it because I would spend the time trying to figure out if the banker or the farmer would give me the best chance to successfully traverse the Oregon Trail. Either that, or I would spend the time answering trivia questions in hopes of catching that slippery villain, Carmen San Diego. It was great fun. But looking back at it now, it was not too helpful. I was behind the computer curve for quite sometime. I didn’t get my first email address until I was a senior in high school. Luckily, the majority of folks in the digital world were just breaking through the cozy confines of AOL when I graduated so the curve wasn’t too far ahead.

Today I have five different email addresses. Yet, I recently read an article announcing the imminent demise of the email form of communication. With the rise of texting and such mobile applications as snapchat, more and more younglings are shunning email. Because who has the time to sit down and write an entire email! Besides, with so many people unaware that there’s an Internet outside of Facebook, what would you need an email for? (That fact is eerily reminiscent of the old AOL-walled world of the 1990s).

Think about that. In about 15 years we went from e-mail slowly gaining widespread acceptance to Email being touted as antiquated. Changes in communication happen all the time (see: the Pony Express, the telegraph, the telephone). But those changes took years, sometime decades, to make the previous mode of communication passe. Now, in the Digital Age, we see changes happening with alarming speed. So I ask you, dear reader, why isn’t The Digital Divide more widely known?

Did you know that there are people out there that either don’t have a computer or don’t know the computer they have is good for things other than checking email? These people are at a gross disadvantage. Where some people are concerned about the ramifications of not giving an interviewer their Facebook password, there are other people that didn’t know that job was even open. Employers increasingly use The Internet as a recruiting tool. Higher Education uses computer technology, too. I’ve had a couple of classes where I didn’t hand in a printed copy of any of my assignments. They were all submitted through a web page. I even have a class next semester that is completely online. I find myself firmly entrenched on one side of The Digital Divide and the Cross the Digital Divide page is The Robbins Library’s attempt to build a bridge to get people across gaping chasm.

Here are some highlights of information you’ll find on the page. If it whets your appetite, mosey on over.

Do you know someone that can’t afford a computer (or you yourself can’t afford one)? Then check out the Discount Opportunities section of the page. There is no shortage of deals out there. A new computer needn’t cost thousands of dollars. There are even chances to get one for under $200.

Do you know someone that needs to learn new computer skills to get (or keep) a job? The Computer Literacy Training section has training for just about anything. Have trouble with the basics, like typing or using the mouse? There is information about where to go to get that training. Need to learn a programming language? That’s there as well. Don’t have the time to physically go anywhere for training? Not a problem you can take an online course.

The reason we put together this list of resources is because learning how to use a computer and adapting those skills in daily life is far more effective if you have a device you can customize for your own use.

The library supports BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) by offering WiFi service at Robbins and the Fox Branch including wireless printing as well as providing self service laptops through eVendit, a self service vending station at Robbins, funded by the friends of the Robbins Library.

Digital Divide Picture

Click the pic for more info on the Digital Divide

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