Libraries’ Get Online service: continuing our conversation with a learner and volunteer

We introduced you last week to two people who have been involved in the Libraries’ Get Online service. Joyce Young recently completed a series of sessions with volunteer Emily Johnson, learning how to use her iPad. We talked with them about how they had each found the experience.

Joyce, do you think being able to work with the same person 1:1 was important? What kind of things have you learned during the sessions?

It was great to be sitting and working just 1:1. I did try classes years ago when I first had my laptop but, honestly, there must have been fifteen people in the class and you had to make the best of it when the teacher could come to you; really, you were going but not learning an awful lot each time. The thing is too that family often just don’t have the time in their own busy lives to help or are living away so it makes it difficult. However, since I’ve come to the library, every week I came I learned a lot of new things – I can do so many things now I couldn’t before, it’s hard to think of them all –

I use apps like the bus tracker, I look up vouchers for restaurants on the internet and I’ve even recently made holiday arrangements and printed out my own boarding pass for a flight.

It really has been so worthwhile and having your own tutor for the sessions was a big part of it – I felt I got to know Emily over the weeks. I could get Emily to go over things again to make sure I had understood them and was doing things properly. I could make notes and check them with her and she’d give me ‘homework’ too! I know I’ve still got a lot I could learn about and use but I now have so much more confidence that I can do it”. To give you another example I had a plumbing problem in the house – I got onto my iPad and looked up a thing called Trusted Traders that a neighbour had told me about; I found a plumber through that and it’s been fixed. I was really happy with that

and that is all about using the internet and the benefits it can bring. . . .

Well, yes, definitely; I find now I will use the iPad every day. I would say it has made a big difference in so many ways. Now it’s great staying in touch with my son – he travels a lot and he’s sending me photos and updates from where he is, it’s marvellous! One thing leads to another . . . I then learnt how to save photos from an email into the photos app so it’s all organised and I can find them. I tell you I could make a list of so many things like that that I have learned so I’m so glad my son signed me up – best Christmas present ever!

Joyce: “I find now I will use the iPad every day. I would say it has made a big difference in so many ways”.

So you feel being able to use the iPad helps you feel more “in touch” with things around you?

Yes, I think it does. It makes me feel like I’ve caught up with things a wee bit – I’d recommend it especially for older people who are wary of trying the internet. What we need is the kind of help I’ve had at the library and it opens up a whole new world to you

“The thing is there are so many things you can’t do or are getting much more difficult to do without the internet”.

I’m now looking at shopping online for instance. I mean, as I get older, it would be a lot easier, I can’t carry heavy things or even getting them into the car is difficult, so, yes, ordering it through the internet and having it delivered makes sense. I’m sure I’m going to be doing that soon!

Emily: Yes, that’s right, Joyce now has the Amazon app on her iPad and we almost bought something!! We went right through the process so Joyce would be able to start using that or other shopping sites and apps. When we started, I remember Joyce saying to me she felt like she was so far behind with all the new technology that she’d never catch up and it was too big an obstacle to overcome – but she has done it!

The final part of our conversation about Get Online with Joyce and Emily will be here next week

If you are interested in finding out more about Get Online in the libraries or you would like to book a place click/tap here


Libraries’ Get Online service : a conversation with a learner and volunteer

The Libraries’ Get Online service runs groups offering free help and tuition in using new technology and getting the most out of ‘being online’. We provide 1:1 support to people in five weekly sessions. Learners are paired up with one of our volunteers to work on the person’s device (be that laptop, tablet or phone) or indeed to work with anyone who doesn’t yet have a device.

We spoke with a recent learner, Joyce Young, and the volunteer who worked with her, Edinburgh University student, Emily Johnson, about how positive they were about the experience of this service. Here is the first instalment of our conversation. . . .

How did you find yourself coming to Get Online at the library? What did you feel about coming along?

Joyce: “About a month before Christmas my son phoned me to say he was going to get me an iPad for my Christmas and I wasn’t too sure about it at all. However, he also told me that he had signed me up for lessons at Central Library for people needing help with all the new gadgets there are. He arranged this from London actually but, anyway, at first I thought ‘I really don’t know; I don’t know anything about this’. I had had a laptop before but I only used it for one or two things and was really very wary of it. So, when my son suggested the iPad and the lessons I honestly wasn’t sure as I’ve said. As it has turned out I’m very glad I came. I actually had a couple of sessions before Christmas and then we started again towards the end of January. When I think that I came along to the first session the iPad was still in the box (!) . . .  however, I had the same person, Emily, with me each time and she was really good at showing me what to do, very patient and encouraging. Even after just two or three lessons I was thinking ‘you know, I can do this’ and since then I feel I’ve come on in leaps and bounds.

Joyce Young: After just two or three sessions I was thinking ‘you know, I can do this’!

To Emily our volunteer: how have you found being involved in this as a volunteer?

I think my favourite thing from the beginning was the fact it really was great to be involved with Joyce quite literally right from the start. As Joyce said, the iPad was still in the box so there was so much I could look forward to showing Joyce but you didn’t really know what yet, or where it might go. But, I think even the setting up of an iPad – or any other device – is not as straightforward as it might seem; you can’t just switch it on and go.

So even just setting up the device is an issue? 

Emily: Yes, it was good to take Joyce through those steps and past that first hurdle. In fact, that took up pretty much the whole of the first session and I also did step-by step notes for Joyce on how to link her iPad up to her Wi-Fi at home for the first time. That’s not the end of it either, you still have so much ‘setting up’ to do to get the email up and running and getting someone like Joyce to understand about registering for things so she could use say the BBC iPlayer or Spotify or whatever which all involves ‘signing up’ and passwords and all of that.

Emily Johnson : “There is so much ‘setting up’ to do and any of (it) not working could just put people off completely”

All of these are potentially a big thing for people who haven’t any experience of it at all and any of them ‘not working’ could just put people off completely. But, when I think back now, being able to show Joyce things like Spotify (a music app) for example when we looked for an old song she had mentioned. It was such a nice feeling to find it and work in an app; that really went for all the sessions, finding something Joyce enjoyed and, every week, finding something new.

Part Two of the conversation about Get Online with Joyce and Emily will come soon

If you are interested in finding out more about Get Online in the libraries or you would like to book a place click/tap here


A Placements Perspective!

The Central Library sometimes takes work experience placements who are interested in working in libraries or in one of the areas covered by our specialist departments.  We thought it might be interesting for you to hear how one of our placements enjoyed their time in our Art and Design Library. Juliet Pinto is a student at a nearby high school, and came to work with us for a week as one of her many interests is art –

“My program for the week was very diverse – I did shelving, set up Christmas displays, helped with events and shadowed general desk duties. I was initially apprehensive about joining in with the Bookbug and Craft event, but after getting involved it was great fun – the parents were very kind regarding my lacking nursery rhyme repertoire. The Wheels on the Bus was the only one I recognised!


Juliet hard at work in the Art & Design Library

Something that really fascinated me was finding out the amount of resources, opportunities and events available to the public, both online and in branch. On the Edinburgh Libraries online website you can learn languages online, stream top quality classical and jazz music as well as access newspapers past and present from all over the world. eMagazines, audiobooks  and ebooks are also available to help further your knowledge of almost any topic. If you take only one thing away after reading this blog it should be that the Central Library and the online catalogue are so immensely useful!

I’ve really enjoyed my work experience this week and would urge anyone with an interest in art, music, history or rare books to enquire about a placement here as it’s helped me improve my timekeeping, organisational skills and ability to communicate with the public. This has truly been an experience I will never forget thanks to the kind and supportive staff”.

Thanks to Juliet for her hard work when she was with us – why not visit the Art and Music libraries and check out her Christmas displays!


Your services are changing – Play your part

Each year the Council engages citizens on its spending and savings plans for the year ahead.

Why We Are Consulting

We are asking you to think about the services below and put forward ideas and suggestions on how you would like these services to be developed thinking about your family, your community and the city as a whole:

  • Developing future library services and improving access e.g. through combining them with other community facilities, involving individuals and communities to help deliver the service and using technology such as swipe card access for 24 hour access to library buildings.
  • Developing the ways customers do business with the Council through enhanced online access to information about services, paying for services, requesting a service and giving their feedback.
  • Improving access to sport and leisure activities within all Council facilities for the benefit of communities. This will reach different groups and provide opportunities for doing this more effectively by involving individuals and communities



Complete the online survey by Friday 18 November

Summer of crafty fun in Edinburgh Libraries

Here’s a quick picture round-up of just a few of the activities that happened during the fantastic Big Friendly Read summer in Libraries.

Keep an eye on the Libraries’ calendar for other events coming soon or find out about regular activities, including craft events, happening in your local library.


Volunteer with Macmillan@Edinburgh Libraries

MacmillanThe Macmillan@Edinburgh Libraries service will launch in the autumn of 2016 in selected Edinburgh Libraries. This will be a free service aiming to provide information, support and signposting to people affected by cancer.

We are recruiting volunteers now!

We are looking for people with good listening skills and an interest in helping people. Full training will be given and expenses are payable.

Interested? Then come along to one of our information drop-ins and find out more:
Craigmillar Library
Monday 11th July 11-3pm
Monday 18th July 11-3pm

Central Library
Thursday 14th July 11-3pm
Thursday 21st July 11-3pm

Seven uses for your library card besides borrowing books


Could you be getting more from your library card?

Here are seven things that magic little piece of plastic entitles you to – and they are all wonderfully FREE:

1. Download free emagazines and newspapers with PressReader and Zinio

2. Read scholarly journals with Access to Research

3. Get help setting up a new business using the COBRA database

4. Trace your family tree with Ancestry

5. Get book recommendations from a real life librarian

6. Stream music with Naxos

7. Take a mock driving theory test with Theory Test Pro

How do you use yours?