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Tech Savvy for June 25, 2009

Free computer classes at the new library

by Dan Harper

    Where there′s something to know, there are a hundred people willing to teach.  While this is generally true in technology, in Southern Colorado there are few resources outside of colleges.

    For a training enterprise to be financially viable, it must have a constant stream of people through its doors.  It must be in a location that promises either a large enough population to continually support itself, or an itinerant population so that it may train new people as the old ones cycle through.  As we would expect, the vast majority of computer learning centers are in Denver and Colorado Springs.

    These organizations have nice facilities, new leased computers, expensive leased furniture, and professional instructors.  All these cost lots of money and naturally they must pass their expenses along to us. If you look at a training center′s records, its only regular clients are corporations who send their employees when new skills are needed, state subsidized programs to retrain workers, and occasionally a private citizen who simply can′t afford not to.  For us in Southern Colorado, that′s already three strikes: 1) no one can put a dedicated training center here because of our low population, 2) the cost of the training can be beyond our wages which match our low cost of living, 3) the time and gas of the 200+ mile round trip. 

    Most folks in Denver and other larger communities have been around computers in their workplace since the late 70s.  As time went on, they became more and more common until today it′s rare to find a desk without one.  Here we adopted things a bit slower. There just wasn′t a reason to

use a computer in businesses here, much less at home, but times have changed.  The problem is that today a certain amount of pre-existing knowledge is expected by professional trainers; knowledge we may not have.

    Now for the bright side…  We have this new library.  Besides turning a decaying eyesore into a gorgeous community resource, the folks at Spanish Peaks Library have added many capabilities, things we haven′t seen before in a rural southern Colorado library.  Talking with them about our woes, we came up with a plan to fill the gaps in computer and software education.

    Spanish Peaks Library and Lobo Savvy Technologies have partnered to bring you a series of basic computer and software classes.  These will cover computer familiarization, software, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, getting connected, safety, the internet, and entertainment.  The number of seats are limited, since this will be a hands-on class.  Should a class be booked solid, don′t fret, there will be a second run if interest merits.

    These basic classes will be free, though there will be a donation jar in the back.  All proceeds beyond the minimal cost of putting on the class will go back to the library to help fund more community projects.  The first class will be on word processing early in July. Sign up sheets will be available at the information desk at our new library when it

opens.  Watch this paper for announcements!