SECRETS OF THE LIBRARY: The Library can help with your computer needs

By Fran Cecere

Maybe Santa brought you a laptop, Kindle or Nook for Christmas, but he didn’t stay to teach you how to use them. The staff at the Culpeper County Library can help! They will definitely help you feel comfortable using them. Susan Keller recommends that, “Before you bring your new computer into the Library, take it out of the box, and read the instructions. These will tell you what you might need before you can use it.” For example with a Kindle, an account on Amazon is needed to buy books. Other times access to the Internet account is necessary.  The Library staff can assist with explanations about the instructions if needed.

With free WiFi, the Library can accommodate many personal laptops or iPads. There are also 16 iPads and 16 computers available to be used in the Library. Children can use these computers with adult supervision. Users can also sign up for the computer lab or for classes taught by volunteers. They can assist with setting up email accounts, navigating the Internet, using Microsoft Word or Excel, solving problems, much more.

In the children’s section of the Library there are 4 AWE computers that young people can use. There are over 40 educational games available and no parental consent is needed. For the protection of the children, these devices have no Internet connection.

According to Nancy Delaney at the Library’s information desk, the most frequently asked question is, “How can I get this information to print on your printer?” The “print” option is not the same on all applications, but the Library personnel are able to point out the necessary steps. The price for the Library printer is 5 cents per page for black and white, or 25 cents per page for color.

If you wanted to take a college class it could cost from $160 to $480 depending on the number of credit hours. However, on the Culpeper County Library site, there are “Gale courses”. These classes are free for any Library card holder in good standing. They offer a wide range of interactive instructor led courses. Participants can take classes in Adobe, Word, Quickbooks, and Powerpoint, coding, keyboarding, using social media, and more. If you are interested, go to and on the home page select Free Classes. Then choose “Gale Courses” and either “view the catalog” or use the search box to find a course.  Each course is six weeks long and requires two hours of class work twice a week. A Gale course can be taken at home, any two days of the week, any time of day. Classes are repeated regularly and the start dates are listed on the site. Courses include quizzes, extra reading suggestions, access to the instructor, and practice quizzes.

Another great free service is e-books which are available from the Library home page. On the left side, choose “Downloadables.” There are several different ways to get e-books, audio books, and magazines. The choices are: Overdrive, Freading, RB digital, Zinio for magazines, and EBSCO e-books. Some sites allow only one reader at a time to check out a book, others allow several readers to download the book at the same time. The selected item will be available for two weeks and then it will automatically be removed from the device. A book can be downloaded again if needed.

The Library is a place for novices or advanced users to start computer training, enhance their knowledge, research new apps, and find a quiet place to use these skills.

The Culpeper County Library has been such an active part of our community for many years. They will celebrate their 20th Anniversary at this current location in March, 2018. Many events are being planned. Mark your calendars and like them on Face Book. Adults and children will have opportunities for fun, games, refreshments, and the chance to learn more about the Library.