11 July 2012

Libraries in Northampton are offering free internet taster sessions on Fridays for anyone who wants to learn how to get online.

An internet taster session can cover many things including accessing the internet and setting up an email account, or just getting started with computer programmes such as Word or Powerpoint.

Computer savvy volunteers, known as I.T. buddies, from both Northamptonshire County Council's library service and the Northampton Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) run the sessions, which cater for all ages and abilities.

The sessions are currently offered at Abington, Duston, Far Cotton, Hunsbury and Kingsthorpe libraries on a Friday.

CAB volunteer Louise Lockwood said: "I tailor each session to the needs of the individual; it can be complete basics on how to use the mouse and navigate around a website, or for those with a little more knowledge, help setting up an email account or hints and tips on how to use the internet more effectively."

The county council also waives its usual computer hire charges in all libraries across the county every Friday plus job clubs also run at certain libraries on Fridays to make the most of the free computers. The Free E-Fridays are particularly beneficial to anyone without a computer and the I.T. buddies are on hand to make sure customers get the most out of the offer.

According to a recent national survey*, 8.12 million people have still never used the internet, so are missing out on all of the benefits it can provide, from saving money to connecting with friends and family to just discovering new things.

Senior citizen Elizabeth Coleman has been a member of Far Cotton library since childhood and recently took part in an internet taster session there.

She said: "The session was very informative and the volunteer a most helpful and delightful young man. He would put the most ignorant of people at ease.

She added: "We are now thinking of buying a laptop due to his help."

The free sessions run on a monthly basis at the above libraries and must be booked in advance. For further information, call Northamptonshire County Council on 0300 1261000 and ask to be put through to the relevant library or email skennedy@northamptonshire.gov.uk .

Anyone interested in becoming an I.T buddy should contact Sara Kennedy on 01604 361460 or send an email to the above address.

The Citizens Advice Bureau also offers a free online basics training programme from its offices in Mercer's Row on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Call 01604 235080 for more information.

*ONS Labour Force Survey Feb 2012