Although we do not offer live computer classes at ARLS, we do have a variety of resources and recommendations for community members looking for technology training. The categories below offer advice based on type of skill and level of ability. We will add to this list as we find new services or become aware of computer classes elsewhere in the community.
The library offers 2 hours of computer and internet use per day (at Hopewell and Prince George, and unlimited time at the other county locations) to patrons who can utilize this equipment to access keyboarding/mouse practice exercises and games online. These websites are generally free and meant for beginners. A librarian would be delighted to direct you to these websites and help you get started. With keyboarding and mouse skills, practice is often the best teacher. Though a librarian can answer questions about left and right mouse buttons and what certain keyboard key abbreviations stand for, your proficiency is going to largely depend on how much practice time you are willing to dedicate to improving your skills. This is an area in which self-teaching is best put into use.
The library invests in print and A/V materials that can help get you started with basic computer skills, which are best used in conjunction with an actual computer for practice. If you don’t have a computer at home, we are happy to assist you in signing on to one of the library’s. Though we are unable to sit down for extended periods with a patron, there is always a librarian close by to answer questions. Self-taught computer skills require commitment on the part of the user, but can certainly be very successful if you are willing to put in the effort.
If you are a job seeker looking for help with basic computer skills, internet, email, and online job applications, the Virginia Employment Commission offers classes every other Monday. You must be registered with the VA Employment Commission to participate, but there is no charge for the classes.
Internet and Email Basics
The library invests in print and A/V materials that can help get you started with internet and email skills, which are best used in conjunction with an actual computer with internet access for practice. If you don’t have a computer or access to the internet at home, we are happy to assist you in signing on to one of the library’s. Though we are unable to sit down for extended periods with a patron, there is always a librarian close by to answer questions. Self-taught internet skills require commitment on the part of the patron, but can certainly be very helpful if you are willing to put in the effort. When it comes to the internet, experimentation and practice are the best teachers.
The library has an array of books for people interested in learning about Office Software, such as the popular Microsoft Office Suite. Whether you are looking for something for a beginner, or more advanced skills, we continue to purchase the most up to date resources on Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and many others. We keep books on older versions of these programs as well, so if you have a previous version of Office at home (Office 2000, Office 2003, etc.) we are able to find you the appropriate material for your situation.
Misc. Computer Skills
Occasionally, miscellaneous computer classes about such things as digital photography (their most recent class) can be found, at the community center in Hopewell. The cost is generally minimal, about $5, and is open to anyone though may require registration. Call 804-541-2353 or 804-541-2304 for more information. These miscellaneous topics are also very popular in community colleges as well. A librarian can help you look up a course catalog at a community college in the area if you are interested.
Advanced Computer Skills
Keep in mind that technology is an ever evolving field and there may be some topics that we do not cover in our collection. If you are interested in learning about a software program or technology topic that we have no books on, please let us know…we are usually able to get you what you need by purchasing an item for our collection by patron request, by borrowing the item from another library through interlibrary loan, or by finding the material from an online source. Likewise, if there is a DVD or CD title on a topic that you heard or read about that is of interest to you, we are happy to take your requests. Also, though there are plenty of computer classes on all topics for all skill levels available online, some are more credible than others. A librarian can help you find the reputable services (see below) that are available on the internet to assist you in avoiding scams and classes taught by those who may not be entirely qualified.
Goodwill Community Foundation – Computer Classes Online
Free Computer Classes in the Area
VA Employment Commission
Tri-Cities – Local Office
5240 Oaklawn Blvd. Hopewell, VA, 23860
Basic computer skills, internet and email, Microsoft Word, resumes and cover letters, job applications
Petersburg Public Library
Chesterfield County Public Library
Community Education Center
1228 South West St.
Petersburg, VA 23803
office 804-732-8449 ext 204
Basic Computer Training, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, and Resume Writing
Goodwill Virginia Workforce Center
Computer Basics and job skills