Rangiora - Unlocking online treasure
Access to services and equipment provided by the APNK has allowed the team at Waimakariri District Libraries to offer increased learning opportunities to their community, with a series of classes designed to get local residents up-to-speed online.
At Trevor Inch Memorial Library, Rangiora, People’s Network PCs and wifi are being used to offer after hours adult learning classes in a range of computing skills and online resources. Because the free APNK PCs are in such high demand during the day, the classes are run in the evening after the library has closed, allowing staff like Pat Mock, Reference Team Leader, to focus on guiding sometimes nervous learners towards computing literacy.
“Some of the nicest feedback came from a participant at our latest Getting Started class, who said that all the computer classes she's tried previously just made her feel stupid, but we didn't... She got her first ever email (from her sister) and her excitement was wonderful…”
Topics have included basic ‘Getting Started’ classes where customers learn how to do things like sign up for an email account, a class on Skype, and instruction on using online databases like Ancestry.com. More classes are likely to follow as customer demand for those offered so far has been high. Future topics may include CV writing, computers for the mouse-phobic, and uploading photos online.
Past generations found online
Ancestry.com is an online subscription database that holds a vast wealth of genealogical records, but can be quite tricky to use for the uninitiated. Rangiora resident Lyndsey Dale is a keen genealogist who attended the library’s after hours class on this resource and as a result was able to find English census records for her great grandfather and great great grandmother. Though she’d never used the database before she was excited about pursuing her family history research using the free wifi available.
“I think it’s great. It’s exciting being able to find some information about people I’ve never been able to find information about before and especially with it being free to use. I’ll definitely use it again. I think I’ll bring in my laptop [to the library]”