Home Staunton Public Library’s Digital Learn teaches seniors computer, technology skills

Staunton Public Library’s Digital Learn teaches seniors computer, technology skills

Rebecca Barnabi
username password graphic
(© Song_about_summer – stock.adobe.com)

Staunton Public Library will conclude its Digital Learn program with a graduation to celebrate the achievements of participants.

The ceremony will be held Wednesday, December 6, 2023, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Valley Program for Aging Services (VPAS) Café in the Dr. John Chiles Activity Room at Montgomery Hall Park in Staunton.

Thirty-one local seniors have attended one or more digital literacy workshops at the library since September. Seniors who completed four sessions will receive a Chromebook laptop to continue to develop their technology skills. The program was funded by a grant from the Public Library Association (PLA) Digital Literacy Workshop Incentive and AT&T.

The free digital literacy training series used resources from DigitalLearn.org to teach community members aged 65 and older skills and build confidence for using technology. The library is proud to have partnered with VPAS to provide this much-needed program to the community. Classes were held at both the Staunton Public Library and at the VPAS Cafés in Montgomery Hall Park to make them accessible to a larger audience. Class topics included basic cybersecurity, email and internet.

Technology Services Librarian Carrie Whitlock taught the workshops and observed that while “many seniors have fear about learning new technology, my students often expressed how much more comfortable it was to learn with a teacher available to immediately help them if they got stuck. It was a pleasure to teach these classes and see the students’ confidence grow as they progressed through the lessons.”

The program reached capacity within a week of opening registration. Staunton Public Library staff members are exploring ways to continue it in the future. For now, residents can request basic technology assistance at the library’s reference desk or by appointment through its Book-A-Librarian program.

“The excitement and joy members experienced during this program cannot be adequately expressed. The grant and energy that Carrie brought to these classes will provide our cafe members access to the world they would not have had otherwise. The laptops will allow them to take advantage of opportunities such as telehealth visits, communicating with loved ones, and ordering groceries for delivery,” VPAS Programs Coordinator Ann Catherine Gross said.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.