Tech help at the library

In one-on-one appointments, drop-in sessions, and in-person classes, library staff can help you learn to use technology— from computers and setting up email accounts to phones and e-readers. Tech help is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese and Chinese.

"People come in to print from their phones, and they print return labels, things for shipments, medical ID cards, and more,” says Lan Phan, bilingual Vietnamese library assistant.

Two patrons sitting at a table in the library with laptions and a staff member assisting them.

Trang Oliver, bilingual Vietnamese library assistant, recently helped Vietnamese-speaking patrons who wanted to know how to shop online, complete a job application, and search for housing.

“We help with whatever patrons ask us for, from how to use phones to completing job applications,” says Trang. “We don't know everything, but we work together to find the answers, and we learn new things every time we help a patron.” 

Trang helped another patron who had written a play and was having a tough time figuring out how to transfer the information to a new computer. Trang taught the patron how to upload the information into a Google Doc, so that they could see it from any computer.

“It was rewarding to see the patron learn to transfer information from unsupported technology to a Google Doc,” says Trang.

Karen Nguyen, bilingual Vietnamese library assistant, offers tech help at Holgate Library, teaching patrons basic computer skills.

“We had a situation where a patron came in and said, ‘I need to know how to use the computer.’ This person did not know how to type, so we taught them how to,” says Karen. “We get them on Google and show them a typing lesson. Then, when they know how to control the keyboard, we go back to the library website and show them where to click and how to request a title or material they want from the library.”

There is a lot of variability in the kinds of questions library staff members are asked, and many patrons come to tech help for at least a few weeks in order to learn a new skill.

“The team gets a larger influx of visitors to tech help after the holidays,” says Karen. “During the holiday season, many seniors get a new phone or iPad from their families, but they don’t know how to use it. Then they come to tech help and we can show them how to set up the new iPad or iPhone. Once they find out we offer Vietnamese tech help at the library, we help them set up.”

Library staff members who speak English, Spanish, Vietnamese or Chinese can help you with your tech needs. Visit the library to get tech help through appointments or during drop-in times.