A Gift of Connection

AARP Investment Brings More Seniors Online

Increasingly, our lives are online. We talk, read, pay bills, apply for jobs, attend school and shop…all with a touch or a click. But many in our community grew up before any of this was possible.

Your Library’s digital literacy courses have brought hundreds of seniors and others with limited experience online. Now, thanks to a generous investment from AARP North Carolina, graduates will have the tools to stay active in the digital world. Michael Olender of AARP North Carolina explains, “AARP has worked with Charlotte Mecklenburg Library since 2013, and we are especially proud to sponsor digital inclusion. This program will help older residents embrace smart technology, allowing them to live with greater independence, dignity and choice.”

Courses cover everything from hardware and software basics to mobile devices, social media and Internet safety. In 2017 the Library began offering digital literacy courses in outreach locations thanks to an investment in portable computer labs from the Philip L. Van Every Foundation, and there has been heavy demand from senior centers.

“We field questions in every Library location from seniors who are new to the digital world,” said Everett Blackmon, University City Regional Library’s main contact for digital literacy classes. “Many are learning something they never considered, and they immediately use their new skills.”

Francine Ashe owns an iPad and a smartphone, and she credits the Library for teaching her to use them. “I’ve stepped into the electronic age. Seniors are lonely sometimes, and there is so much we can access. I share pictures with my grandchildren, find recipes on Pinterest, and I even read books online. A whole world is at my fingertips.” Shirley Massey, a resident of Prosperity Creek Senior Apartments, agrees. “I want to learn everything I can absorb.”

To learn more about digital literacy courses for seniors and all ages, visit cmlibrary.org.

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