Supporting Seniors’ Digital Skills
TPL continues to keep older adults and seniors socially connected and engaged through library services, programs and collections.
As we increasingly become a digital-based society, it’s integral to be able to confidently navigate the online world, find useful and current information and stay connected with family and friends. People who do not have internet access at home are at a disadvantage, and one of the ways TPL aims to bridge the digital divide is by lending out Wi-Fi Hotspots for free. TPL’s Hotspot Lending Service helps provide more equitable access to the internet for all Torontonians by having 1,000 units available for a six-month checkout from 30 of our branches. The next lending cycle for these units is in the Fall of 2023.
TPL also supports the development of digital skills by offering a wide range of computer classes for beginners and advanced computer users alike, in library branches as well as in other locations across the city.
Beginners can take a class on basic computer skills and learn how to use a mouse and keyboard, set up an email account, use Google and navigate the library’s website. Other classes delve more deeply into online searching, such as the Digital Life Skills for Seniors series which features Online Health, Online Safety, Online Travel and more. Build on your skills with a class on Word, Excel or even Photoshop!
TPL’s Community Librarians are currently offering services in Toronto Seniors Housing Corporation locations, delivering digital literacy courses and one-on-one information and referrals to seniors. In 2022, 110 seniors participated in classes and received Wi-Fi hotspots for the duration of the program. Community Librarians are generously supported by donations to the Toronto Public Library Foundation from an Anonymous Lead Donor, Richard and Joan Boxer, The Catherine and Maxwell Meighen Foundation and other donors.
TPL also offers programs to support seniors in connecting with others and preventing isolation. Upcoming summer programs include:
- Aging Well in Toronto, a discussion program series led by Toronto Intergenerational Partnerships in Community, features guest speakers, hands-on workshops and discussion groups. A new topic related to aging well is presented each week. The weekly programs take place on Mondays 1:30-2:30 pm at Barbara Frum to July 3, 2023.
- Wet, Swirl, Swipe and Repeat: Watercolours, a playful and fun eight-part watercolour series for people living with dementia and their care partners with the Alzheimer Society of Toronto. The series takes place Thursdays 2:30-4:00 pm at Dufferin/St. Clair between July 13 and August 31, 2023. Pre-registration is required.
Are you a senior who has attended programs or classes in the library? What kinds of new programs would you like to see? Let us know in the comments!