Tech Time helps older people with their technology questions | News

Savvy Seniors Tech Time is a technology class offered by the Wilkinson Public Library and patrons are saying it is a good opportunity to get their questions answered about how to use their cell phones, computers and other devices.

The Wilkinson Public Library, located at 100 W Pacific Ave. in Telluride, started offering the class last year from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. every Monday in Meeting Room 5. It is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

Marilyn Branch has been a regular in the class since it first started in November. She leads the communication in the community for the class by being the point-of-contact for people interested in participating.

“I think the basis is we didn’t grow up in the tech age,” Branch said.

Branch said the class gives people a chance to ask questions and get clarification on questions about technology.

“People who talk tech, we don’t necessarily understand all of what they are saying,” she said. “Some of the words don’t ring a bell.”

Wilkinson Public Library Director Sarah Landeryou said the Tech Time class teaches new technology skills to older people, who may not have grown up with a personal computer or cell phone.

Laura Colbert, the library’s adult program coordinator, leads the Tech Time class.

“It occurred to me there was a need for this kind of service in the community,” she said, as more people began coming to the library for assistance with their technology questions.

“People at any age are struggling with tech devices and the seniors like the idea of taking the class and gathering together at a certain time for a class,” Colbert said.

Branch said at a recent class she had a question about how to share a photo that was sent to her phone. Colbert showed the class how to do that.

Another skill the class learned was how to use the library reading app called Libby. With Libby, patrons can check out an audio book, for example, from their phone.

She said one day the class participants learned how to use the library website to read The New York Times and Wall Street Journal for free without a subscription.

“The nicest thing is the class just feels comfortable. They understand seniors need their tech questions answered,” she said. The library staff are “so patient and you don’t feel embarrassed to ask a question.”

One goal for the class is to help patrons learn skills that help them in their everyday life.

“It’s fun, but we learn something too,” she said.

Another regular participant at the class is Pal Gleason.

“Nothing is too small or too complicated to ask,” Gleason said.

Recently, she said she went to park at a garage near the library and it had a barcode on the poster at the entrance. She had a question about how to use that technology. Colbert went with her to the garage and showed her how to use the barcode.

Jackson Schneider, library teen program specialist, who sometimes leads the class along with Colbert, said the class “seems to be really well-received.”

The class schedule alternates every other week between open tech time, at which people can ask any questions, and a specific theme, Schneider said.

Class participants can learn how to create their own email address, even if they have never done that, he said. Staff can also assist people with their iPhone settings.

“Any question is fair game,” he said. “We have a community of five people who come every week. They come after their senior lunch.”

The popular class usually attracts a handful of people, but as many as a dozen have shown up, Colbert said. Participants can bring their phones, laptops or Kindles to class to get their questions answered.

“So many things about technology can be frustrating,” she said. “The library gets questions on anything from apps and how they work, to how to change settings ― to why they can’t find a file and to why does the external hard drive not work?”

August 7 is the next open technology class when patrons are invited to bring their devices and questions.

“There can be 127 questions on any given day,” she said.