Although one in five American adults does not use the internet, our everyday business is increasingly being conducted online. Tasks we once completed in person such as applying for jobs, paying bills, or signing up for health insurance are becoming more difficult to accomplish without a computer.
If you would like to become more comfortable using computers but aren't sure how to get started, you are not alone. The library is here to help!
The Beginners Computer Lab is a drop-in lab at the library designed to help you practice basic computer skills like using a mouse and keyboard, selecting, copying and pasting text, saving documents, or setting up an email account.
We will provide guided activities (including the resources listed below) and librarian assistance to help you become more comfortable using computers for everyday tasks.
The Beginners Computer Lab currently meets on Saturdays from 2:00-4:00 pm. Please join us. No registration is necessary!
These handouts and activities have been prepared by our librarians to help you develop basic and intermediate computer skills. They cover a range of topics and are designed for the absolute beginner using the Windows 7 operating system. The activities are available for download in PDF format, which may require you to download a program called Adobe Reader.
Getting Acquainted with the Desktop
A one-page orientation to the basic elements of the Desktop in Windows 7. Click below to download this handout:
Mousing and Windows
A one-page orientation to the mouse and navigating windows. Click below to download this handout:
To practice mouse skills, we also recommend Mouserobics. Click here to complete the Mouserobics tutorial: Mouserobics
Another way to practice mouse control is with online games or solitaire. Here is a free online solitaire game site: World of Solitaire
All of the library’s lab laptops and public computers have a software program called Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing (or Typing Tutor for short). This program allows you to practice keyboarding skills to improve your typing ability. We've prepared a three-page step-by-step guide to getting started with Typing Tutor on one of our computers. Click below to download this handout:
Selecting, Copying and Pasting
Computers allow you to move images and text from one place to another. This process requires you to select, copy, and paste the item from the original location to a new location. This five-page activity introduces multiple methods for selecting, copying, and pasting information. Click below to download this activity:
Internet Scavenger Hunt
This three-page activity introduces you to the internet browser (the software used to navigate the internet) and helps you practice accessing and finding information on different websites. Click below to download this activity:
Library Databases Scavenger Hunt
Library databases are premium online resources that the library licenses for research, test preparation, or homework help. In this five-page activity, you will learn how to access our library databases and how to search them for information. Click below to download this activity:
Setting Up a Gmail Account
There are many free email providers. Two of the most common are Gmail (operated by Google), and Yahoo Mail. You can choose any email that works for you. This three-page activity will walk you through the current setup process for creating your own Gmail account. Click below to download this activity:
If you already have a Gmail account and would like to become more comfortable using it, this two-page activity should help. It walks you through accessing your account, sending a message, attaching documents, customizing your account settings, and using Gmail's help feature. Click below to download this activity:
To be used along with the Using Gmail activity, we've prepared a two-page handout to help you understand the Gmail interface. Click below to download this handout:
Looking for a quick definition of a computer term? Try Computer Hope's Computer Dictionary and Glossary.
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