People can check out tech at libraries

New York Public Library home page

The New York Public Library will use a private grant to create public technology

training centers at several of their branches.

The library system also is launching a public/private effort, "Click

On @ the library," in which volunteers from 14 companies will provide hands-on

computer training and other tutorials at 14 branches throughout the Bronx,

Manhattan and Staten Island.

The $2.3 million grant for the training centers, from by the Jeffry

M. and Barbara Picower Foundation, is the largest private grant for technology

training the library has ever received.

"People are so thirsty for training on the Internet," library spokeswoman

Caroline Oyama said. "The grant is going to be used to train the public

in all aspects of computer use from how to use a mouse to finding a job

on the Internet to learning how to build a Web site."

Of New York's 85 branch libraries, 10 will be outfitted with computer

classrooms at which the library plans 114 hours a week in technology classes.

This is a good way for people to get a leg up on technology, Oyama said.

"It's often not so complicated, but they [the public] need to get started

and they need to get comfortable," she said.

The New York Public Library system has about 1,200 computers, most with

Internet access, for public use. Last year, nearly 2,200 Internet classes

were offered to about 9,000 people.

The Click On @ the library workshops will be different at each neighborhood

branch, Oyama said. Several will train the public on basic computer skills,

another will teach would-be entrepreneurs how to start an Internet company,

one will teach researching on the Web, and another branch will show how

to use adaptive equipment for the blind.

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