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Armstrong libraries connect patrons to short technology seminars

Tom Mitchell
Darla Bernot, front, of Ford City and Paul Mohney of East Franklin are frequent users of Armstrong County library computers. Both have previously taken the free courses offered at the Get Connected Tech Fair. Bernot, a library volunteer, said she plans to take additional courses so she may help library patrons with computer questions.

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Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

MANOR — Confused by all the gadgets and gizmos of cyberspace? If blogging, e-readers, Google and smart phones make you feel not so smart, just “Get Connected.”

Anita Bowser, director of the Ford City Public Library, said that keeping up with rapidly changing technology can be difficult. However, between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, the Apollo, Ford City, Kittanning and Worthington libraries will team with Lenape Technical School to demystify the seemingly mysterious world of cyberspace at the annual Get Connected Tech Fair.

“People may get frustrated with these things, but we are there to help them gain a better understanding of all the gadgets out there and learn how to use them,” Bowser said. “For the past several years, our libraries and Lenape Tech have sponsored the Get Connected Tech Fair.”

She said the Tech Fair offers a series of short seminars on a variety of technological subjects, and it's all free. Those enrolling may sign up for any or several of the courses offered according to their needs or interests. Subjects include understanding Google, online banking, geo-caching, smartphones, genealogical research and recording family history, blogging, Twitter, recording video memories, e-readers, Facebook and keeping safe online. The fair is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Darla Bernot of Ford City is a volunteer at the Ford City Library and said she is often asked for help with computers by library patrons. Bernot plans to enroll in Get Connected's “Just Google It” session to help her better understand the popular search engine.

“I also want to learn about online banking,” she said. “I want to be able to use some of these things better so that I can better help our library patrons who may not know. Last year I took the e-reader and Internet safety seminars. They were simply great.”

Paul Mohney of East Franklin said that he has been “playing around” with computers for about 20 years but found the Get Connected Tech Fair informational.

“Three years ago, I went to the tech fair and learned how to use Skype,” he said.

“I use it to have live video chats with my grandsons and a son that lives out of town. I also took a short class on genealogy. I found out some fascinating things about my ancestors.”

He said that classes range from 20 to 45 minutes and are well worth the time.

Mohney said that if he wanted to expand his knowledge of a subject he bought one of the “... For Dummies” books or brought up the subject for discussion at the Mid Armstrong Computer Club. He said the fair introduces the basics then it is up to the individual to go beyond that if they wish.

Mohney is a member of the computer club and recommends the club to all who are interested in learning more about computers. He said the club meets at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month at the Kittanning Library. Dues are $10 a year, but prospective members may attend two meetings free.

Bowser said the club has been very supportive of the Get Connected program and membership is a good way to expand one's computer skills.

A complete list of course offerings and times may be obtained at any of the county libraries. Bowser said the school is handicapped accessible and there is plenty of free parking. Refreshments will be available. Lenape Tech is located at 2215 Chaplin Ave., Manor Township.

Tom Mitchell is a correspondent for the Leader Times.

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