With Library Week now upon us, we’re looking at two more important programmes provided by our libraries which feature in our new A-Z of Library Digital Services. These are Silver Surfer groups and Virtual Reality equipment and activities.
Earlier this year, we caught up with Rochdale Libraries’ Smithy Bridge Silver Surfers, which had been effectively closing the digital capability gap between the generations for nearly two decades. The flexible programme of learning with new topics suggested by members, along with the mutual support and social aspect, has provided a winning combination for this long running group.
It’s a format of help which is found in many libraries up and down the UK, always in high demand and a valuable asset to any local community. It shows that digital literacy is accessible to all with the library’s support, offering a new world of opportunities regardless of age.
As the Rochdale group’s tutor, Michael Willis, tells us: “We’re now able to confidently communicate via e-mail, messaging, WhatsApp, FaceTime, Skype and Facebook. We can bank and shop safely online, book travel, and use price comparison sites. We can download or stream music, e.g. Spotify, and connect it to other devices. We can download films, TV, games and blogs…
“It is as much about knowing what can be done as how to do it. As an older group we are proud that we keep track with changing technology. It’s also made our lives easier – being able to do so much online.”
What’s more, the benefits of this service has a ripple effect throughout the community, as new knowledge and enthusiasm for all things digital is shared with friends and family. Read more about Smithy Bridge Silver Surfers in our earlier blog here.
Libraries are evolving in how they provide for local communities, with Virtual Reality headsets, software and activity days being one exciting new area. Building on the key infrastructure of public computers and Wi-Fi, they’re able to gather together young and old alike to partake in fun, cutting edge games using new VR technology. It’s all part of our libraries’ efforts to advance digital inclusion in new ways, incorporating STEM learning opportunities into its programmes for young and old alike.
A few months ago, we called on a VR activity day at Hertford library, and were delighted by the energy and enthusiasm that this library’s event generated, with children and adults enthralled by the experiences provided.
The VR event provided by Hertfordshire Libraries was part of an ‘out of the box’ initiative from their CreatorSpace facilities – increasing the accessibility of these resources for greater participation across the county. It was a huge success and representative of the amazing opportunities and experiences facilitated by our libraries. Read more about Hertford Library’s VR day here.