The Valle Verde campus library of El Paso Community College began offering digital literacy education to senior citizens in the El Paso area.
“The goal of the project is to introduce senior citizens to everyday computing, tablet and smartphone use.
Evan Hughes / Tejano Tribune
The teacher Caty Valtierra-Pinon explaining at the Valle Verde Library
the importance of having an email account, and teaching the Seniors how to create one.
This will help them communicate with their family members, friends and other members of the community and enhance the overall quality of their lives,” explained Sam Ruiz the public services supervisor at Valle Verde library.
Thursday, Sept. 26, was the first of many events aimed at training the elderly to navigate and interact with the digital world.
Caty Valtierra-Pinon, librarian and assistant professor at Valle Verde, welcomed the attendees after everyone grabbed a slice of delicious pizza.
“We’re excited to start off this series. If everyone has a smart phone, regardless of operating system you will be able to set up access to a Gmail account. Don’t have a Gmail account? Then you’re in the right place,” Valtierra-Pinon stated.
The program, Seniors Going Digital, is made possible by a grant the library was awarded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services(IMLS) to prepare adults over 50 to become more technologically fluent.
“Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries (APP) is a special initiative of the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program.
The goal of this initiative is to support projects that strengthen the ability of small and rural libraries and archives to serve their communities,” explains the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ website.
Sitting at the front of the group Enrique Hank Arrietta puts on his glasses to see his phone’s screen, he’d rather not say his age.
“I’m old enough to be here, I don’t know how to use half of the stuff on here,” Hank says as he shakes his phone in the air.
"In two hours you’re going to know a lot more,” Valtierra-Pinon promised.
The seminars are held the last Thursday of every month, from 6p.m. to 8p.m. and are scheduled to continue until August of 2020. The first class covered email on various platforms and devices.
Also planned are classes on cyber security, library resources, texting emojis, online shopping and dating; all of which are offered in English and Spanish.
In 2016, the Pew Research Center found half of senior citizens didn’t have access to broadband internet and a third had no presence online at all.
Programs like this at public libraries are meant to turn those figures around as communicating online becomes more prominent.
If you or anyone you know is over 50 years old and they are interested in learning about all the secrets technology has, stop by EPCC VV campus library during one of the classes and expand your virtual horizons.