Local library helps citizens by offering free classes

Those interested in taking free technology classes at the Winfield Public Library can scan this code to be taken to a survey on which class topics they want to see.
Local library helps citizens by offering free classes

WINFIELD — Technology can be frustrating to some people. To those who have never had the opportunity before, using programs, phones and the internet can be challenging. Now with a full staff, the Winfield Public Library has seen the need for technology classes and has been offering them for free.
The library has posted surveys, asking the public what type of classes they would like to see. So far, the library has hosted free classes on learning spreadsheets, Google Docs, how to avoid scams, computer basics and general phone use, including browsing the internet. In fact, the latter class will be held again tomorrow from 2-4 at the library.
Hannah Birdsong, the programs director at WPL, explained the classes were based off of what the community would like to learn.
“We have an online survey that is anonymous that anyone can take,” Birdsong said. “They can find it on our website, they can find it on our Facebook (page) or they can come in to the library in person and scan a little QR code that will take them straight to the survey.  It has some questions like, ‘Would you like to learn Facebook?’ or ‘Would you like to learn how to make a power point presentation?’ or things like that. They’ll be able to tell us what they want to learn so that we know we’re helping the community the best way we can.”
For computer classes, Birdsong mentioned the library does have laptops where users can have a device to learn on but stressed to bring their own if the person has one, so they can learn how to apply the skills they learn on a device they're already familiar with.
“You do not need a library card to participate,” Birdsong continued. “We are very beginner friendly--you do not have to have any knowledge of computers to attend our basic classes. We are able to guide each attendee, and we don't let anyone fall behind.
“We are so glad to be able to provide these free classes, and we want everyone who needs them to take advantage of them, not just people who live in Winfield.”
Staff members are hoping to spread the word about the classes they are offering. Patrons of the library are handed flyers, and sometimes staff members will walk through town posting flyers.
Birdsong also explained the classes began in February, with two per month being taught.
“We have heard great things from people who have attended the classes. They have said the classes are very helpful, and they are glad that we offer them. We have also heard a lot from the public. They seem really glad that we are able to offer free technology classes for anyone--even if you don't have access to the internet or a computer at home. We have public computers anyone can use as long as they provide a government-issued photo ID, and many of the people who have attended our classes use our public computers and have been able to apply what they learned from our free classes. We’re hoping we’ll get more people to come out to these classes. It’s just about reaching the people who could really use the classes.”
Topics planned for the free class tomorrow night include Google Chrome, Safari, e-mail, searching, navigating websites and a question and answer period.
On Thursday, April 27, the library will offer a class on Google Slides. Birdsong said these could be helpful for class presentations for children in school.
“Our Google Slides class will require attendees to have a Gmail account, but if they do not have one, we can get them set up. We'll learn how to format a presentation, how to add transitions, sounds, music, photos, videos and how to embed links. This can be helpful to parents who have children who have to make presentations for class. This class can also help people who own or run a business.”
Future topics may include saving files and printing basics. Those interested are encouraged to take the survey. A scannable QR code is included with this article, which will take users directly to the survey to fill out.
To contact the library, please call 205-487-2484, or visit their website at winfieldpubliclibrary.com. They are located at 185 Ashwood Drive.

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