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No need to be an e-outcast.

February 18, 2013

Recently, I’ve noticed lovely birdsong around the F Street bridge. The only birds I’ve seen are Dippers—so it must be them, unless they’ve brought in a singer—and since they hang out under the bridge, their songs are beautifully amplified.

If Spring isn’t getting here soon enough for you, go stand on the bridge in the morning sun and listen. Dippers are also fun to watch.

Do this, at least, if you’re going to be the typical American and leave many days of vacation unused each year—nine days, in fact, according to a Harris survey.

This is an interesting trend. Currently, people travel less because of financial constraints, but they could still use their vacation time, if only at Riverside Park. We’ve had a cultural change in recent decades expanding on the gradual abandonment of the Sabbath Day into private time of all kinds.

Americans are perhaps more work-obsessed than many nationalities, but we’ve also experienced a kind of “mission creep” as our networked lives create fuzzy boundaries between work and personal life.

My usual schedule is to work evenings, and I sent an email one night to a vendor representative, expecting it to be next day’s business. I blinked once or twice and had my reply.

I typed back, what are you doing? He said it’s what’s expected anymore. It seems every waking hour is potentially a working hour.

Of course, things can blur the other way, too, wherein every working hour is also a networking hour, full of text messages, personal phone calls, and quick glances at “Special Offers!” that flood one’s inbox.

One experiences a different feeling of being networked standing on the bridge, watching the winter river flow by, and listening to the Dippers. Just one suggestion.

Another, if your networked life is not so smooth, is to consider some tutoring. In particular, at the library we will start a couple of basic tutoring programs—one for ebook activity and one for basic computer use.

We may change or expand the hours, but here’s how we will start this very week:

Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m., our colleague Bailey will be available to offer guidance using such devices as the Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iPad, iPod, and the like for borrowing books and magazines through the library.

Bailey’s an old hand without being a “techie.” Before the ubiquitous smartphone and iPad, he traveled Asia reading downloaded books on a little PDA. He’s both experienced and gentle.

No appointment necessary for now to consult on ebooks. Come on by those mornings; bring your device. However, for basic computer consulting with Elliot, we need to make appointments. We’ll start with Saturday mornings 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and probably add an evening soon.

Elliot has been tutoring people informally at the library, but we’ve had enough inquiries to make this a regular thing. She has been in adult education for a long time, running adult literacy programs for Delta County and Gunnison libraries. She knows the challenges adults can face learning new technology.

So, no need to be shy now. Elliot can walk you through using that email account your children set up for you, how to find the family pictures on Facebook, how to read your grandchildren’s blog, or how to type a letter in Word. Whatever (almost). Give us a call. Elliot will be in touch to make a plan.

No need to be an e-outcast, unless you want to be.

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