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Introduction to email

Library tutors patrons on basic computer skills

Photo by Johnny Jackson 
Terry Merchant (from left), Terran McCanna and Tangi Taylor go over some basic computer skills in the Forest Park Public Library computer lab.

Photo by Johnny Jackson Terry Merchant (from left), Terran McCanna and Tangi Taylor go over some basic computer skills in the Forest Park Public Library computer lab.

FOREST PARK — Email and text have so become ingrained in daily discourse, it can be easily overlooked that electronic communication is a learned skill needing cultivation.

Some still need help navigating the not-so-new age technology, said Terran McCanna, a librarian at the Forest Park Branch Library. She teaches 11 computer classes including the most popular course, Computer Basics Series.

McCanna also gets her share of participants in the Introduction to Email and Introduction to Microsoft Word classes each month.

Computer skills have played second fiddle to language skills and the hard science subjects, she said. But individuals are quickly finding that technology-based skills are increasingly necessary not only in the workplace, but in daily living.

The newly opened library is twice its original size at 16,000 square feet and has a dedicated computer lab in addition to public-use computers.

McCanna teaches classes in the computer lab using an overhead projector to demonstrate to students how to navigate web browsers and software applications.

Tangi Taylor and Terry Merchant, both of Forest Park, take computer classes regularly at the library.

“I’m intimidated,” said Taylor, a mother of three. “I don’t too much know about computers.”

Merchant said he is improving his computer skills by the day as he surfs the web in search of jobs.

“I find it to be somewhat difficult at times,” he said. “If you don’t know how to do it, it’s frustrating. It’s challenging.”

McCanna said she noticed schools teach basic keyboarding and more advanced programs with less focus on the skills you learn in between.

She said the computer basic series class meets three hours daily Monday and Tuesday for three weeks. Other classes, like Introduction to Mircrosoft Excel and Introduction to Microsoft PowerPoint, are held in four-hour blocks once a month.

“I think there are tools and skills that all people should have,” said McCanna. “Libraries are a community life-long learning institution and this is an issue that all public libraries face. In areas where the economy is a lot better, there may be fewer questions but there are still questions.”

Register for a computer class at the library, 4812 West Street, or by calling 770-347-0160.