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Technology highlights Scottdale library's winter programs

| Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

The Scottdale Public Library will be offering several new technology classes and programs this winter.

The Internet Safety for Parents class will be offered at 6 p.m. Feb. 27. The curriculum for this course was designed by the Pennsylvania Library Association and is intended to introduce parents to the types of interactions their children have access to through technology. It will be facilitated at the Scottdale Public Library by computer instructor Awanda Pritts.

“Parents don't understand who their children are contacting and how,” said Patricia Miller, library director. “They're receiving information that parents have no idea they're getting, and sometimes the children don't even understand who they're interacting with.”

Safeguards like the Child Internet Protection Act and program blocks on computers can help children avoid certain dangers, but it's up to the parents to know who and what their children are interacting with online.

“Generally parents do need to be a little more aware,” said Miller. “Knowledge is power. Perhaps if parents are more equipped, they may be a little more prepared to protect their children. We're not out to alarm anyone because it's very important today that children have access to technology, but it's important for them to have parental protection as well.”

The class is aimed at parents who want to learn more about the types of technology to which their children have access, though it is open to grandparents and caregivers who may have less knowledge of technology and want to learn.

“We'd love to have personal input and discussion during the class to adapt to an individual's needs,” Miller said.

Interested parents and guardians can register for this free class by calling the library at 724-887-6140.

In addition to computer classes, the library will again be offering its Technology Thursdays program, the focus of which will be eReaders and accessing the library's eBook resources.

Currently the library has two vehicles through which eReader users can rent eBooks for free: Overdrive, which distributes digital media such as eBooks and audiobooks, and 3M Library Systems, which at this time only releases eBooks but will be expanding to include other forms of digital media soon. Access to both digital libraries is free with a Westmoreland Library Network library card.

“eReaders are a very common holiday gift, and after the holidays are over many people are left not knowing how to make the most of their new device,” said Miller. “As long as you have a working knowledge of the device, the library can help you access these digital libraries.”

The first Technology Thursdays program will be held from 12:30-2:30 p.m. Jan. 30.

Kaidia Pickels is a contributing writer.