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Literacy in America

Tech Help Is Just a Click Away at Your Local Library

This holiday season, e-readers, tablets, smartphones, and other tech devices will fall into the hands of consumers of all ages.

For many, using these devices will come naturally and require little assistance, but not everyone is a digital native. Some may freeze up with bewilderment or genuine fear at handling a gift that is on the wishlists of consumers with an eye on the latest technological trends.

No need to fear. Libraries of all types and their tech savvy librarians and library workers can assist students, parents, and all members of the family with understanding new technologies and how to navigate the digital world around us.   

Public libraries offer 1:1 assistance from staff guiding patrons through the intricacies of computers, smartphones, 3D printers, iPads, e-readers, and other devices. This includes training in software, internet services, social media, and apps. 

Libraries also offer tech assistance remotely for all ages. A library card provides access to library web resources like software tutorials, eBooks, and audio books on coding and tech support, apps, social media, and privacy tips, and a host of other resources to support tech adoption. 

Even the “experts” need help

Tech “experts” like youth and young adults may struggle with the volume of data at their fingertips. Studies from the PEW Research Center show that although students are viewed as tech savvy, many lack the critical thinking skills needed to safely navigate the internet, social media, and apps. Millions of K-12 students rely on certified school librarians to teach them how to become good digital citizens, and avoid cyber fraud and victimization.  

College students share the same fate when it comes to technology. Many have access to the latest and greatest tech gadgets, but the majority lack the skills to access and evaluate credible information. 

The volume and range of digital information has led some college students to believe that if a resource can’t be found online, it doesn’t exist. This misconception, coupled with students’ inability to analyze online information, especially information shared on social media, along with the plagiarism of online sources, has kept the need to teach information literacy skills at the forefront of academic librarianship. 

As family members unwrap tech gifts this holiday season, rest assured that your public and school librarians are ready to assist those in need with mastering new technologies, and navigating the digital jungle that surrounds us. Help is just a click away.

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