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January 29, 2013
To the rescue

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — For those adults out there who don’t know anything about computers, Public Library of Enid and Garfield County is coming to your rescue.

The library will offer free computer classes from 4-5 p.m. today, which will be continuing throughout the month of February, said Michelle Mears, library director. Classes generally will be offered Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

“We’ve always offered assistance and smaller computer-use classes, basic introduction to computers,” she said. “There are some who still have never done keyboard or mouse and many of them are asking for them. We decided to go with the flow and offer the classes they ask for.”

Among the classes will be one about e-books and how to check e-books out of the library. The library also will offer Facebook 101, so people can understand the settings of the social media website and how to protect their privacy. Another class to be offered is introduction to Microsoft Word for those typing a resume, she said.

“Many people don’t own their own computer and we’re the only place to go. We’re offering it free,” Mears said.

Computer usage is high at the library, which offers a bank of computers for individual use each day. Mears said an average day will see about 200 users. Customers may use the computer up to two hours daily. Many users come after school or after work, although lately, people have begun coming in when the library opens at 9 a.m. to get immediate use of a computer, she said.

“Some of those are job searches. One man didn’t know the first thing about using a computer and he was applying for a job. He had to do it by email to the company headquarters,” she said.

Mears also has considered increasing the size of the computer area, but there is no room. There is no place for network connections, plus the library would need cabling and electrical outlets it does not have. Many people are bringing their personal laptops to the library and using the free Wi-Fi service provided by the city of Enid. The library received a number of laptops from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries to teach computer classes. Those laptops have 19-inch screens.

“I don’t even know if they actually are classified portable anymore. They’re huge, and better for training,” Mears said.

Although the February calendar is not available, she said classes start at about 4 p.m. Some classes may be later, but none will start later than 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. She said they try to catch more people by offering later classes.

Anyone interested in the classes should call the library reference desk at 616-7192 to sign up.