Much of the modern worlds relies on being confident and competent with basic IT skills. Without these skills it can be hard to apply for jobs, find out information from the internet, go on line shopping, communicate with friends and family that live away or even use all the facilities that local services provide. Our volunteer computer buddies provide advice, support and coaching in key IT skills tailored to the individual needs of the library users that wish to improve their IT, unlocking the on line and digital world for them. Some users will just require a short amount of help, advice and guidance to polish up their skills, learn some new aspect of IT, or just to solve a particular problem that is causing them trouble. Others may need more prolonged help of our computer buddies over a number of weeks. It is all about giving people the skills and knowledge they need to access IT and internet packages and uses that are needed for their life, rather than getting everyone to the same point of IT competence.
Stroud library really values its volunteers. An individual staff member will be allocated as your main contact and you’ll receive all the training that you need to be a confident, successful and effective IT Buddy volunteer. You’ll have a review after 3 or 4 sessions to make sure are comfortable in your volunteering role.
Each user that needs time from a Computer buddy will have their own particular needs depending on their existing level of IT knowledge and what they want to be able to do. However, common topics that users have needed help with in the past include:
• Logging on to the desktop
• Navigating around the screen and the internet
• Using “Favourites”
• Using Internet explorer
• Searching on the internet
• Using the Virtual Reference Library
• Using Ancestry.com from the Virtual Reference Library pages
• Saving a page from the internet
• Creating and using an email account, including sending attachments
• Using the 1911 census on line
• Accessing online courses and local IT classes
• Using self service kiosks for reservations, renewal of bookings and accessing the library catalogue
• Guides to Office packages such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint
• How to scan and save a picture
• Saving to memory sticks
• Downloading digital books.
Computer buddies need good communication and listening skills and to have patience and a god sense of humour – what may seem obvious or intuitive to use as a skilled IT user can often be scary, bewildering and complex to someone who is not familiar with either IT in general or the particular package or programme they are trying to use. Computer buddies also need to be good at teasing out what skills and knowledge the users need to have and what might be realistically useful for them to also master, without overloading them with digital skills they have no interest in or do not need. You’ll need a very flexible approach to helping users gain the skills they need – what works for one person may not work for others. You’ll need to be enthusiastic and encouraging and able to explain different technical and computing terms in a clear fashion that is relevant to the user. You’ll also need to make sure that you comply with General Data Protection Regulations at all times and not keep passwords, pass on financial or personal details and keep any details you do see confidential. You’ll also have to make sure that the users always input their own credit card details if they are doing something like an online purchase. You may also be able to signpost users wanting to take their IT journeys further to appropriate local college courses.
You may work one-to-one with a user or work with a small group at once, depending on what the users’ needs are.
The Computer buddy sessions usually take place at Stroud library on Mondays 10am - 1pm and 2pm - 6pm, Tuesday 10am-1pm, and Wednesdays 10am - 12pm. The Monday and Wednesday sessions are by appointment so you would know who you were expecting each week, while the Tuesday session is a drop in.
Stroud library needs volunteers for all its computer buddy sessions, but you could commit to a regular day or slot if that worked better for you.
Stroud library is keen to make all its volunteering positions accessible to all. The library has lift access.
Many other libraries are also looking for computer buddy sessions volunteers so if you like the sound of this challenge, but the location or days are not suitable for you, why not look at challenges for other locations. At the moment the following libraries are seeking Computer Buddy volunteers: Bishops Cleeve; Bourton-on-the-Water; Cheltenham; Chipping Campden; Churchdown; Dursley; Gloucester; Hesters Way; Lydney; Tuffley; Winchcombe and Wotton-under-Edge.
If you would like more information about this volunteering opportunity without committing yourself to it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Why get involved?
By volunteering as a Computer buddy you’ll be helping
people gain and develop IT skills that will allow them to participate and access more of modern life. You may be equipping them with skills that will allow them to seek, apply for and gain employment, make and keep in contact with friends and family living away, follow hobbies and interests, do research or study or just find out more about things that interest them, get on line shopping, or save their photographs digitally.
You’ll also be gaining and practicing hands on teaching and training skills, as well as strengthening your own communication and interpersonal skills. It is also a very sociable role, so great for developing new friendships. And as you’ll be in the library regularly you’ll be in prime place to spot all those new books to borrow as soon as they come in!
How to get involved?
- Sign into your account or sign up to Volunteer Makers.
- Accept the challenge
- Await a response from Gloucestershire Library Service with more information
- Customer Service
- Project Management
- Social Media
- Web Development
- Working independently
- Working with Databases
- Working with Young People
- Community Work
- Computers and Technology
- Learning and Education
- Teaching and Training