When many people think of our public library, the first thing that comes to mind is books, magazines and even DVDs available for borrowing. With the changing times and increasing technology, libraries are adapting accordingly.

   The Yankton Community Library is no exception. While the library already offers many technology services such as computers, printers, scanners, microfilm machines, general research databases, and genealogy research databases, soon the library will offer an educational technology program. Starting on Sat., Jan. 17, the Yankton Community Library will partner with YHS’s National Honor Society to provide tutoring for those unsure of how to use ever-changing technology.

   The librarians recognized a need for technology education, and one of the librarians, Susan Lippert, pointed out in a staff meeting that the National Honor Society would be a good match for the project, because the students were looking for community service opportunities, and they have grown up exposed to technology.

   Mrs. Lippert is excited at the opportunity this experience offers older people who didn’t grow up with lots of technology and are adapting to a more technology based society. She states, “I really just feel compassionate for them. All of their lives they have worked hard and followed the rules and now as they’re getting ready to retire and relax, the rules have changed on them. More and more tasks, such as checking their personal accounts, have shifted to the internet, and I’m glad we can equip them with the knowledge to feel confident and independent.”

   National Honor Society student Haylee Worm agrees that high school students are the ideal choice for such tutoring. “I think high school students spend the most time [of any age group] using different types of technology, and because we use it so often, we have become familiar enough to figure out how to teach it in simple ways or even more complex ways.”

   Haylee Worm is also familiar with using technology frequently in her own life, and feels that many National Honor Society students will feel comfortable sharing their knowledge with others. “I personally use a lot of technology for things like social media, research, and other things because it is all so similar. Figuring out basic stuff should be no problem at all.”

   Mrs. Kathy Wibbels, Yankton Community Library Director, states that there has been an increasing need in the recent months for informational technology sessions for library patrons. “Especially after the Christmas season, people bring in their devices that they were given, but they don’t understand how to use them.”

   In the past, there have been basic computer classes offered at the library, but the lack of flexibility for individual questions in a class setting left many people’s questions unanswered. That’s where the National Honor Society becomes helpful. Instead of holding a formal class, students will be available at the library throughout designated days and patrons can register for 30 minute time slots for individual assistance from these students.

   Mrs. Wibbels believes this one-on-one approach will “leave people open to ask their own specific questions.” She also believes a 30 minute time slot will be an effective amount of time, because people will have enough time to go into detail on their questions, but it will not run so long that people become overwhelmed and leave more confused than when they came in.   

   As patrons sign up for the program, they are able to list what programs and technologies they wish to understand better so that the students can be best equipped to help them.

   Some of the subjects of help frequently requested include help with Windows 8 operating systems, basic computer skills, help with personal devices such as iPads, Kindles, and aptops, computer clean-up skills, Java issues, and how to navigate social media set up. Basic technology questions are also frequently asked, such as how to turn on computers, how to use copiers, and how to connect to wireless internet.

   Even though the participants who sign up are sure to gain some knowledge, perhaps the National Honor Society students will gain the most from this experience. Julie DeWitt, an NHS senior, looks forward to the opportunity to interact with others in the community. She states, “I hope to gain a better perspective on life [from others.] Being a volunteer is a very humbling experience and knowing that you are helping another person in some way is one of the most rewarding aspects of National Honor Society.”

   The staff of the library hopes that people of all ages will participate in this unique program.

   Currently, all slots for the first session are full, and the librarians and National Honor Society students are excited to start this program.

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