Computer help appreciated at Waitati

Clare Reilly, of Waitati, learns about her tablet from Otago Polytechnic information technology...
Clare Reilly, of Waitati, learns about her tablet from Otago Polytechnic information technology student Hayden O’Shea during an IT help session at the Blueskin Bay Library on Friday. Photo: Linda Robertson
A long-standing partnership between Otago Polytechnic and the Blueskin Bay Library at Waitati moved to a higher level on Friday when polytechnic students ran a successful computer help desk there.

Blueskin Bay community librarian Louise Booth said the event, involving four information technology students running the help desk, was a "win-win" success, for the community, the polytechnic and the students.

Organisers said that at least 15 Waitati community members were helped by the level 4 certificate students at the library, from 2pm to 3.30pm.

People were leaving with smiles, and "feeling empowered" by learning more  about using their computers, and there was a "very positive" response.

Ms Booth has a bachelor of information technology degree from the polytechnic, and, in 2013, she approached the polytechnic to suggest having an "unstaffed community learning centre" at the library.

The polytechnic had provided two computers which gave access to educational internet sites, and both were "well used by the community".

In 2015 the polytechnic updated the computers with new programmes.

Customers were "very excited" about the help desk, and it was hoped to repeat the popular event later this year.

The partnership links amounted to a "pilot scheme" and could lead to similar developments, such as at the Port Chalmers and South Dunedin libraries, she said.

Waitati resident Clare Reilly said it  was a good event. She had asked a series of questions, which had all been answered, about her new tablet.

Polytechnic team leader IT certificates Hamish Smith said the event was positive for students and members of the public.

There were  benefits, and students were encouraged by realising that their knowledge could help others, and this help was also warmly appreciated by the public, he said.

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