Have no Technology Fear, the Media Mentors are Here!

And there came a day on Earth when the Poudre River Public Library District’s mightiest heroes found themselves united in support of digital literacy and technology troubleshooting, to educate the community about eBooks and computer classes and age-appropriate apps.

On that day, the Media Mentors were born!

No foes can withstand them! No technology can escape them!

If you need them, they will help you.

Seek and you shall find them at any of the library locations.

They are your media mentors!

Okay, maybe they’re not technically superheroes, but the Library District media mentors sure do a lot of great things for library users, the community, and their fellow staff members.

In addition to their regular day-to-day responsibilities at the library, the media mentors also

  • troubleshoot technology issues like downloading eBooks and videos,
  • teach a variety of free computer and technology skills classes,
  • educate customers about the library’s available digital services and online databases,
  • promote strong digital citizenship, and
  • share current research on technology use and developing digital literacy.

If you’re having difficulty downloading or accessing materials with your smartphone or tablet, you may just find yourself talking on the phone with Gabe Johnson at the Answer Center. He’s one of the Library District’s media mentors and is frequently called upon to assist with questions about  eMedia services like OverDrive or hoopla, and downloading titles to mobile devices like iPads, Androids, and Kindles.

Media mentors can help you download titles to mobile devices like iPads, Androids, and Kindles.

“As our library services continue to expand, they’re reaching farther and farther into digital media and emerging technologies,” explains Gabe. “By keeping up with technology trends and staying on top of what’s relevant to our community, we can make sure we’re providing the services and tools that our users want and need.”

For many of your technology-related questions or challenges, the Answer Center is a great starting point. Often, Gabe and the other answer gurus can help you right over the phone.

However, if you’re visiting one of the Library District locations, you can easily work with one of the other media mentors in person. They’re happy to introduce you and your family to the wide variety of technology available onsite at the libraries like computers with high-speed internet access, the iPad apps and game stations for kids and teens, and the many Answer Cache databases and research tools.

“We serve as digital liaisons and advocates for our community,” explains Sara Nesbitt, media mentor and library assistant at Council Tree Library. “Often we’ll work with customers to clear up misconceptions about the complexity of technologies like iPads and smartphones. Once people realize how user-friendly technology really is, their curiosity is piqued and they can’t wait to use it.”

The computer lab at Harmony Library is popular for a people interested in technology classes.

In addition to helping visitors with library computers and printers or with their mobile devices, the media mentor team also creates and teaches a variety of useful classes, ranging from a beginner’s introduction to the computer and internet to current tech trends like web design, digital photo editing, and blogging. Most recently, the media mentors have offered skill building classes on coding for adults and children.

“We spend time researching and trying to identify what’s next in technology,” adds Sara. “When we see a need or recognize a unique opportunity, like teaching a class on how to use cloud computing or understanding your digital footprint, we make sure to create a way to get it into the community’s hands.”

As interest in and pursuit of math, science, and technology continues to expand, the Library District’s media mentors are developing and producing library programs and services to meet the growing need, especially among the youngest library users.

Early literacy librarian and media mentor, Vicky Hays, spends part of her day talking with parents and caregivers about using technology effectively and monitoring screen time with young children.

Monitoring screen time with young children is important for parents & caregivers to consider.

“My goal is to educate parents and caregivers about the important role they play in helping kids use technology safely and appropriately,” explains Vicky. “We’re not here to direct their choices about technology use, but to support the decisions they want to make for their family.”

Vicky also works with library users who are interested in understanding how to build extensions between learning with technology and learning in other ways. She also offers information on the importance of family members learning together with technology and how to create family media agreements.

Library District media mentors are available at each of the library locations to assist you and can also preschedule meetings for individual assistance and troubleshooting. Make an appointment with a library media mentor by contacting the Answer Center at 970-221-6740 or via email. You can also use the Ask-a-Librarian form on our website to request a meeting.

What do you see as the next technology trend in the library? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.