Local libraries offer free tech support

For the Miami Valley Today

TROY — Free one-on-one technology help is being offered at Tipp City Public Library, Troy-Miami County Public Library, Oakes-Beitman Memorial Library, and Milton-Union Public Library. Guiding Ohio Online is a State Library of Ohio administered competitive LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) grant. This program seeks to bridge gaps in access to technology and increase digital literacy in rural communities throughout Ohio.

According to the research conducted by Guiding Ohio Online:

• 29% of lower-income Americans don’t own a smartphone.

• 35% of U.S. adults with household incomes below $35,000 don’t use the internet.

• More than 300,000 households in Ohio, which is close to 1 million Ohioans, lack access to high speed internet.

The program hopes to create technology users who are able to fully participate in online government, search and apply for jobs online, and utilize digital resources for financial, social, historical, and informational needs, with an understanding of their digital footprint and how to protect their personal information. The $11,520 grant aims to accomplish this goal by placing technology trainers in the community to offer one-on-one assistance, classroom instruction, and outreach programs.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated trends in how libraries provide our services and technology has been at the center of it,” said Drew Wichterman, assistant director/adult services librarian and project coordinator of the Guiding Ohio Online program. “We know that our patrons need help, and we will assist them with their technology needs.”

Patrons with questions about Libby, Hoopla or their device can stop by the library to have questions answered or schedule an appointment. The “Bring Your Own Device” program will be offered at the following days, times, and locations:

• Mondays, 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Milton-Union

• Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Troy

• Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oakes-Beitman

• Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tipp

• Fridays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Oakes-Beitman

• Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tipp

• Sundays, 1-4 p.m., Troy

To register, call the local libraries at:

• Tipp City (937) 667-3826

• Troy (937) 339-0502

• Milton-Union (937) 698-5515

• Oakes-Beitman (937) 676-2731

Walk-ins are always welcome during these hours, and the new Technology Trainer is happy to assist with computer and smartphone basics, email, Microsoft Office, resumes and job search, digital library resources (Hoopla, Libby, etc.), government websites, genealogy resources, and more.

In addition to tech support inside the library, the technology trainer will also be available to support community members outside the home via house calls and phone sessions. Appointments outside the library can be made by calling the library.

The Guiding Ohio Online program was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the State Library of Ohio.