Park County Library recently held the grand opening of its Wits and Wisdom room (aka the Teen Room), an expanded space for older patrons. Weekdays, during the school year from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., the Wits and Wisdom room will be available to senior citizens for a variety of activities.
Shelly Waidelich, the Young Adult Librarian for the Cody library, will offer computer access, TV, Blue Ray/DVD players and assistance with technological issues. She plans to organize games like bridge, euchre and dominos. “I’m making a place for my seniors to hang their hats,” she said.
Shelly found that she had excess capacity in the teen room, especially from September through May. So, she taught computer classes and tutored patrons in the mornings. Then, one day in 2015, she noticed Olive Yates at the public computers. Olive looked a little puzzled. Shelly offered to help her set up her email account. Olive became a regular for morning sessions on the teen room computers. She researched her family history on Ancestry.com and went on to refresh her Spanish language skills online.
The library promotes equitable access for all. Lack of technological skills can hinder people and Shelly sought to address that deficit. She held Tech Rodeos, encouraged teen tech tutors and formalized Senior Computer Days. She manifested the library vision, “Inspiring, Enriching and Empowering” and made it fun.
Given new tools to pursue their passions, lifelong learners are unstoppable. People may need help with smart phones, tablets and laptop computers, but, a little encouragement goes a long way at any age.