It’s the time for New Year’s resolutions, so we’re going to suggest one: Don’t be afraid of new technology, and consider the library as a primary source for information that will allow you to conquer your tech fears.
Even though the coronavirus vaccine is here and life might go back to something resembling normalcy, the expanded use of technology is here to stay.
Consider the following strategies.
1. Take a basic computer class. They are offered at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon Ave., Metairie, and they’ll be offered soon at the West Bank Regional Library, 2751 Manhattan Blvd., Harvey. Attendees must register online; seating is limited and social distancing guidelines apply. The classes focus on basic computer skills, basic internet skills and introductions to various basic software programs. A trainer is present for all sessions.
2. Consider checking out an audiobook, the narrated and digitized copy of a written book. Some Audiobooks are dramatized, and many are narrated by professional actors. Today audiobooks are on-demand via smartphones. The library has two sources for audiobooks, and both can be found under the “Digital Content” tab on the library’s website: hoopla and Overdrive (Libby) are the primary apps. Go to each site, register (free), and search content.
3. Consider checking out an e-book, an electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device such as a Kindle or Nook. The library has several sources for e-books, and they can be found under the “Digital Content” tab on the library’s website: hoopla, Overdrive (Libby) and CloudLibrary are the primary apps. Go to each site, register (free), and search content.
4. Watch movies at home on your computer or television screen. The library has two free sources that offer thousands of movies — both English and foreign — and documentaries, and they can be found under the “Digital Content” tab on the library’s website. They are Kanopy and hoopla. All one needs to do is sign up by creating a user name and password.
5. Download music free. Like the resources listed above, Freegal can be found under the “Digital Content” tab at the library’s website. Freegal offers thousands of songs in all kinds of genres. Patrons are entitled to download three songs per week and stream up to three hours each day.
6. Check out free digital magazines. Go to the library’s website, hit the “Digital Content” tab, and look for two free resources: Flipster, and RBDigital. Patrons can page through several hundred magazines from their own computers after creating a user name and password. A huge variety of reading material is available in English, Spanish and French.
7. Take an online training course. The library also offers Lynda.com on its “Digital Content” page. Patrons can receive training in everything from complex computer programs to how to become a songwriter. It’s all free.
8. Read a newspaper online. The library offers free access to hundreds of dailies through three sources, which can be found by going to the library website, then to the “Database” tab. The New York Times has its own listing, on the left hand side of the page. Another listing on the left hand side of the page titled Newspapers.com allows free access to major newspapers from other parts of the country, as well as USAToday. A listing on the left-hand side of the page titled Newsbank allows access to hundreds of newspapers, including the Times-Picayune.
9. Consumer Reports. Doing research takes time, but it’s here at your fingertips. Patrons can access this site under the “Database” tab on the library’s website. Once there, one will find thorough product comparisons with a comprehensive archive of product reviews of cars, appliances, electronics and more from Consumer Reports.
10. Learn a language. The library has two free resources: Mango and Pronunciator. Both can be found under the “Database” tab on the library’s website. Patrons have their choice of more than 100 languages.
That’s it. We’re stopping at 10 ways to embrace technology at the library but there are many more opportunities. We didn’t even mention genealogy, job hunting, homework help resources, and many others.
Our point: Don’t be afraid of technology. Use it to your advantage, because it’s not going anywhere.
COMPUTER CLASSES: The courses listed below occur at the East Bank Regional Library, 4747 W. Napoleon, Metairie. Patrons must register online and cannot simply show up. Seating is limited and social distancing guidelines apply. Patrons who register for these courses and who discover they cannot attend should cancel their reservations to make room for others. A trainer is present for all sessions.
Basic Computer Skills
10 a.m. Jan. 4
This introductory course helps attendees become more comfortable using a computer. Topics include: using a mouse, locating and opening a program, moving icons and making folders.
Introduction to Microsoft Word I
2 p.m. Jan. 7
This class explores the basics of Microsoft Word 2016. Students will spend time getting to know the interface, creating a document and saving a document. They also will look at various ways to format a document such as changing font types and sizes, adjusting margins and text alignment. This class is designed for those with little to no Microsoft Office experience, but it may be difficult for those with little to zero computer skills.
10 a.m. Jan. 8
This class serves as a basic introduction to the internet. Topics covered: connecting to the internet, the features of a web browser, using a search engine and basic terminology.
‘UNVEILING OF AMBER’: Local writer Susan Weaver Eble, writing under the pseudonym Viola Russell, has a new book out, “The Unveiling of Amber.” Eble attends many library functions, including the writing sessions that were held in pre-COVID days. She’s penned six other romances, most set in New Orleans. In her current novel, New Orleans native Amber Thorpe is shocked when she learns that her boyfriend Tyler cheated on her and then uploaded videos of their sexual encounters online. The situation worsens when the school where she works fires her. Devastated, she visits her grandmother in Austin where she meets mysterious Winston Hurley, a scarred man who plays guitar like someone possessed of either an angelic or demonic spirit. The library has Eble’s books.