Heights Libraries offers drop-in tech support
Though technology is everywhere, not everyone is comfortable using it. Just ask Jackie Mayse, technology librarian at the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.
Heights Libraries has offered free computer classes and individual tutorial sessions for years, but Mayse said staff recently decided they could do even more to put tech help within reach of customers who need it most. She and her fellow technology trainers have started offering a new service at each branch: Ask a Tech Trainer.
“Ask a Tech Trainer is a service that we started a few months ago,” said Mayse. “We were looking for a training option that was more flexible than our classes. This is a walk-in service so a customer can just walk right in, no appointment necessary, and get help on the spot.”
The tech trainers set up for a block of time in the lobby of all three currently open branches: Lee Road, Coventry Village and Noble Neighborhood libraries. Then they wait for the questions to roll in. And, roll in they do.
Mayse believes the casual nature of the service encourages customers who may be shy about their lack of skills to feel more comfortable asking for help. “Unlike a class setting, where you ask a question in front a room full of people, this one-on-one setting allows people to ask about basics like how to use a mouse or get on the Internet without worrying that they’re the only ones who don’t know.”
The service also helps customers with more advanced skills who just need to be pointed in the right direction.
“I remember one woman who came in—she had a book about Adobe InDesign and she really wanted to get some one-on-one help with it. I realized that our free Lynda.com service, which offers free software training, would be a great place for her to get really good Adobe InDesign classes that she could take on her own time,” said Mayse. “We were able to get her into Lynda.com and show her how to get started with those courses.”
Technology help isn’t limited to software or traditional desktop computers. The tech trainers are also well-versed in the latest hand-held devices. Due to the holidays, Mayse said the tech trainers expect to see an increase in the number of customers asking for help with new tech gadgets.
“Holiday gifts are certainly swinging toward those tech gifts and a lot of people will receive something new but not know what to do with it,” said Mayse. “If you have questions about an electronic holiday gift, we can help you figure it out.”
For details about days, times and locations for the Ask a Tech Trainer drop-in technology services, customers can check the winter issue of Heights Libraries’ program guide, Check Us Out, visit www.heightslibrary.org or call 216-932-3600.
Sheryl Banks is the marketing and community relations manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.