Residents who need support in accessing the online world are urged to visit North Yorkshire libraries for Get Online Week (18 to 24 October).
Over the last 18 months, the Internet has been central to socialising, accessing government support and engaging with friends, family and communities. Throughout that time North Yorkshire libraries have played a crucial role in enabling people to get online and are there when people need digital support.
During Get Online Week staff and volunteers will be introducing visitors to e-books, online local history and reference resources. This is a great time for anybody who is new to getting online to book a free session with an IT buddy for some one-to-one support. Please contact your local branch for information about your nearest event.
The Library Service is also teaming up with the our Adult Learning and Skills Service (ALSS), Citizen’s Online and A1 Community Works throughout the week to deliver sessions on studying online, using social media and staying safe online.
Teachers from the ALSS are running free digital courses on Wednesday, October 20, from 1pm to 3pm and Friday, October 22, from 9.30am to 11.30am. Anybody without access to a computer can book one at Scarborough, Malton, Harrogate, Northallerton, Selby or Skipton library. Visitors must bring their own headphones.
From the start of September, North Yorkshire libraries extended the length of free computer sessions from half an hour to an hour a day. Anyone who needs additional time can pay a small fee or choose from a range of subscriptions to have a longer session.
IT buddy support in libraries is a service that is valued by many people looking to improve their digital skills or to do specific tasks online. Over 100 volunteers give up a few hours of their time to help people in libraries across the county. If you have good IT skills and are interested in volunteering to support others to get online, please have a chat with your local library.
Eduroam, an online roaming service for students, staff and researchers, is now available on all library computers. It has been rolled out as part of the our introduction of free public Wi-Fi across 16 of the county’s market towns to support recovery and growth for communities and businesses.
County Councillor Greg White, Executive Member for Libraries, said: “Alongside our partners, we are pleased to be supporting Get Online Week which we hope will allow many residents without access to computers to connect with the digital world.
“Over the last 18 months we have seen over 14,500 people join the library. Members can access e-books, e-audiobooks and various digital library services. We have also hosted a range of online events which are continuing at many branches. Support for people to access services is always available.
“We look forward to working with the ALSS as they offer people the opportunity to build their confidence with online learning, download and upload resources and manage their digital identity. It’s great to see our libraries extending their offer so I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved.”
The library service is reassuring visitors that although coronavirus restrictions have been relaxed, its buildings are a safe place to be and they can return with confidence. Library staff and volunteers are continuing to wear face masks and customers are encouraged to do the same. Hand sanitiser stations are still in use and track and trace is available.