The Maryville Public Library is currently taking appointments for one-on-one tutoring sessions tailored to adults seeking to learn basic computer skills such as basic Internet use, setting up and using email, mouse skills and basic Microsoft Word.
Library Director Stephanie Patterson said the sessions are available to any card-holding senior citizen or other adult who needs help learning to use a personal computer.
"Not everyone loves learning technology for the thrill of it," Patterson said, "but we often see people with a specific task they want to accomplish — such as ordering a book for a grandchild, learning to email a relative, or applying for a job —that requires use of a computer.
Without help, they can get stuck and frustrated."
Patterson said the library opted for tutoring sessions and small-group lessons over larger classes in order to better meet the specific goals of each learner.
One of the first patrons to use the service was an 82-year-old Maryville resident who had been paying for Internet service for two years but did not know how to access the Web. Library Staff Member Mandi Brown showed her how to connect and set her up with an email account.
"One of the things I had her do was to practice emailing me," Brown said. "Since then she’s been corresponding with me and with family members across the country."
The lessons are free, but individuals must be library card-holders before making an appointment with a tutor. Cards are free to residents living inside the library's Maryville tax district and cost $25 a year for other county residents. A three-month card is available for $10.
Nodaway County residents who live outside Maryville, but who are food stamp-eligible, can receive a fee card through the Friends of the Library.
Staff costs and other expenses related to the computer tutoring program are covered through a Library Services & Technology Act Grant supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered through the Missouri State Library.
For information, or to enquire about obtaining a library card, call the library at (660) 582-5281.