Archive for Thursday, August 14, 2008

Library classes teach computer skills

August 14, 2008

Being computer-literate and Internet-savvy has almost become a requirement in today's work force and society.

The Basehor Community Library is bringing new users and beginners up to speed with a wide array of computer classes.

Some of the basics include an introduction to word processing program Microsoft Word, spreadsheet program Microsoft Excel, and slide presentation program Microsoft PowerPoint. Teacher Joe Norton, who has been teaching classes at the library for several years and also teaches computer classes at the Area Technical School, said the classes are small, which allows students to have personal attention.

"I explain the basics, give each student a few things to type and help get them through tough spots," Norton said about the Microsoft Word class. "It's very informal."

Students take the classes to gain extra knowledge of a brand-new computer they just purchased for home use or for a little extra training in the computer programs to get ahead in the work force. Norton said it helps to have basic computer skills such as how to operate a mouse along with some knowledge of the programs before taking the classes, but he said all skill levels are welcome.

"The best way to learn a computer program is to use it," he said. "If you need computer skills for home or the job market, it's a good place to get them. It's very convenient and the price is right. They only charge $5."

Melanie Morris, bank manager of First State Bank and Trust in Basehor, will also be stepping in as a teacher to offer online banking classes.

Through the First State Bank and Trust online banking site, Morris logs into a mock bank account and shows students how to check balances, transfer money between accounts, make loan payments and pay bills all with the click of a mouse. However, Morris said that probably the most important part of the class is teaching users how to keep their personal information confidential.

"We all have to be careful with identity theft and keeping all of our account numbers confidential," Morris said. "I'll have information that is strictly from us and give examples of the precautions and safety features that I would want people to look for if they choose not to bank with us just to keep themselves safe."

If somebody is still in the dark when it comes to online banking, Morris said, taking the class will show first-time users that online banking is easy and it saves times and money with fewer trips to the bank and not having to use postage.

"Everything has to be quick, easy and convenient these days and this just adds to it," she said. "You can do it from your home at any time, day or night."

Other classes that may be offered periodically include an investment course, an introduction to e-mail and a QuickBooks tutorial. Assistant library director Jenne Laytham said the library is going through some staff changes right now, but she expects the facility to keep a variety of classes offered through the end of this year and into next year.

"Especially after the first of the year, we'll be offering a lot of new, different and fun classes," she said.

All classes are $5 and are offered in the evenings during the week. For more information about the classes, to check the schedule or to register for a class, go online at basehorlibrary.org, call (913) 724-2828 or stop by the Adult Help Desk at the library, 1400 N. 158th St.

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