When 80-year-old Mary Sinclair received a Samsung tablet for her birthday from her granddaughter in December, she wasn’t quite sure how to use it.
She thought that maybe a self-help book would teach her the basics, including texting and emailing. So she set out to the Pierce County Library in Milton, where she’s been a patron for 17 years.
She found a self-help book — but she also found a different method of learning: one on one.
Pierce County Library System’s Book-A-Librarian service allows its patrons to make an appointment with a librarian to receive help and handy tips for all their device questions.
“Tablets and phones are the biggest thing,” said 25-year-old Kendall Brookhart, an adult services librarian who meets patrons for appointments.
Around this time of year, many are receiving electronic devices they might not know how to use as gifts.
“We may not be able to solve everything, but we’re a good first step before you have to go somewhere and pay for assistance,” said Adam Jackman, an adult services librarian at the Gig Harbor Pierce County Library.
Sinclair’s 11-year-old neighbor used her tablet and told Sinclair that she didn’t need the library’s help, to which Sinclair said, “Yes I do.”
Sinclair sat down with Brookhart on Jan. 4 for help, where the librarian helped Sinclair text back and forth with an old friend and use the web.
Sinclair says she still has to get a handle on many features, but has an interest in getting involved in the digital age.
“She’s got the touchscreen down very well,” Brookhart said, adding that Sinclair can demonstrate features — even if she doesn’t know the digital terms yet.
Sinclair has more scheduled one-on-one appointments ahead of her, but it’s a learning process.
“They’re very pleasant here and it makes a world of difference,” Sinclair said. “I’d like to see more people know that this (service) is available.”
The Book-A-Librarian service can also help patrons with research techniques, using library resources and reading suggestions, and is available at most library locations.
To book an appointment in Gig Harbor, patrons can call, come into the branch or go online at getsmart.pcls.us.