Recent free computer literacy classes are having a very positive impact on the Central Texas community of Bastrop, notes Bastrop Public Library Assistant Director Sheilah Kosco. The library recently received new computers, software, and training through the Texas Connects Coalition (TXC2), a partnership of Texas non-profits working with a broadband technology grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
“Laura is developing a following,” said Kosco, referring to Laura McBain, TXC2’s computer training specialist for Bastrop and nearby Smithville. “Individuals love these classes, and we’re seeing a lot of quick progress.”
The first full month of training in November 2010 concentrated on basic computer knowledge and proficiency. McBain used her schoolteacher skills to bring these adult learners into the computer age. Later classes included training with Microsoft products like Word, Excel, and Publisher.
The goals of the project are to increase the number of library users, raise awareness of resources and services available at the center, and increase acceptance of library resources and technology. Another achievement McBain has witnessed is a rise in self-assurance. People who never used a computer before last fall now have email accounts, fill out job applications online, and prepare and send out resumes to potential employers. After a few meetings, one class member signed up for computer added design classes at Austin Community College.
As the library and TXC2 strive to bring relevant information to the community, feedback from class surveys led to the first Spanish language computer class in late January. Another community driven class is Internet safety for parents and children held February 21.
For more information about classes at the Bastrop Public Library, see the monthly training calendar on the library’s home page, bastroplibrary.org. Paper schedules are also available at the library, 1100 Church Street in Bastrop. For more information about TXC2, visit the non-profit organization’s website at txc2.org.