I’m in danger of getting a bit sugary here. But I need to risk it, and say that training library users in using computers is nearly always an absolute pleasure.
Some people come along because they’ve been meaning to get around to it for a while, and a bit of time has just come free. Some people are ex-refuseniks, who couldn’t see what was in it for them using a computer, but have watched their jobs or their hobbies go online, and feel that this is the right time to take the plunge, with me and my colleagues holding them gently by the hand.
Last week (a short week for me) was a good week for training. On Thursday it was ‘Absolute Beginners’, with a group of fired-up people who kept asking questions and wouldn’t let me carry on until they were sure they’d got the point I’d made last – very stimulating.
On Friday, a group of carers from Carers Network Westminster came in to our library (Marylebone) for a session on searching the Internet. They were also a lively bunch, and helped me along by asking questions, making suggestions for searching, and generally interacting with me and each other. One of the carers had come along with the person he cares for (making time for learning or shopping or anything can be a real problem for a carer) who sat in our newspaper area and browsed. An ideal arrangement.
Then on Saturday, I went to St John’s Wood Library for another session on searching the Internet, and I met someone who had all the motivations for getting more familiar with computer use. He is a brickie, who has dabbled a bit with a computer at home, when he can find a moment his kids aren’t using it. He knows that jobs are increasingly being advertised and applied for online, and that was something he wanted to do. But there was more. He had a collection of records on vinyl which he wanted to digitise and store on the computer. I pounced, and we searched for this, getting lots of websites with software to sell, but also tutorials and hints on how to do it effectively. Other people suggested searches, including academic articles on literature and tales of footballers’ wives (very juicy), but it’s the man with a mission who will stay with me – and almost certainly stay with computing.