Darlene Hockenhull and Tim Mayhead are bent over a laptop computer in the corner of the Petrolia Library.
They aren’t composing the next great novel, Hockenhull is trying to figure out how to get the most out of her computer and Mayhead is just the guy to help.
He’s been hired as the Summer Internet Assistant, tasked with answering anyone’s questions about everything from how to use their computer to how to access all the new online services at the Lambton County Public Libraries such as the movie service Hoopla or the Gale Online Learning courses.
Mayhead says “most people have some basic knowledge” of computers but want to know more. “They’ll say ‘I used to know how to use the internet, now I want to know how to use Facebook and email family and friends.’”
For Hockenhull, it is a welcome service.
“I’m from the generation that is left behind,” says Darlene Hockenhull of Petrolia. “My kids are older and moved out of town and now there is no one to show me.”
“I want to learn how to do online banking – I want to learn to do everything.”
Mayhead will typically meet with confused computer users for about an hour at the library and often they return for more lessons the next week. Hockenhull had only been talking with Mayhead for a few minutes and had already decided she needed more lessons.“I have a tablet at home and I don’t know how to use it either,” she says.
Mayhead doesn’t mind; he’s hoping more people with computer woes will stop by in the future. “I’m sure there are a lot of people who just don’t know I’m here to help.”