Ask A Librarian: Senior-Friendly Devices?

hands of two men using a tablet computer

I’m working with a Council on Aging and they are looking for “senior-friendly” devices to purchase for their participants, ideally tablets that are also budget friendly. Does anyone have any recommendations? Are there any resources that exist to help people compare devices?

My opinion, as someone who works with seniors all the time who struggle with various devices, is that any device can be set up to be “senior friendly” and a lot of this will depend what other technology, if any, exists in their world.

So for someone who had a Mac, even an old Mac, an iPad is the right answer (could be an old iPad, they are remarkably useful still). Someone with a Windows laptop wouldn’t get as many “it just works” effects from one. I feel like the important part is setting up tablets to work for people which involves… Continue reading “Ask A Librarian: Senior-Friendly Devices?”

Ask A Librarian: training for older tech users?

a drawing tablet with a stylus next to it and a very colorful image on the screen
Cytheriachen / CC BY-SA

Email I got from a local non-profit worker, looking to apply for a grant, asked: Do you have input on how older people learn best and how we should set up training program?

Amy may have other suggestions but for me, in drop-in time, what often gets people the most motivated is if they have a problem they want to solve. They often learn well in groups, if this is possible, and it’s useful to have a good idea of what assistive technology is available to them in case they have vision/hearing/motor skill challenges.

Assistive technology can make ALL of these things go more smoothly, but not if people don’t know about them. Continue reading “Ask A Librarian: training for older tech users?”

Ask A Librarian: Graphic Novels for Boomers?

cover of WOman Rebel which features Margaret Sanger tied to a chair

I was wondering if you might give my little women’s (boomers) some guidance as to a beginning graphic novel for us to read.

Hi! It sort of depends what you’re into. The big favorite was the Vermont Reads book for last year which was John Lewis’s March (about civil rights and the struggle for them especially in the south). It’s first person, can get a little violent at times but I found it pretty engaging. There are a lot of graphic novels at the library that are a little kid-oriented but still have storytelling and pacing that works for adults. A few classics include

  • El Deafo – about a child with a hearing impairment learning to manage it as well as just being a kid
  • Ghosts by Raine Telgemeier which is about families and, sort of, the Day of the Dead
  • Pashmina – a story about a “two culture” kid who encounters a magic shawl and uses it to get information on family secrets

One that I liked but it’s a little challenging in terms of material (some graphic stuff) is Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story which is a history of Sanger. Super interesting but obviously she was living in a difficult time and working with people who were living in a more difficult time.

All of these are, I think, available at the Kimball Library and Courtney Bowen there I’m sure would have other suggestions since she manages the collection.

Ask A Librarian: Hard Drive Cleanup for Macs?

screenshot from Disk Inventory X

 

I am looking for someone who can help me find and clear out excess data on one of my internal drives to free up space…

[While I am happy consulting, a lot of times if people know how to download, install and run software, they may not need my help. Someone emailed to ask about cleaning up his Mac’s hard drive. Here is my advice.]

The tool I usually use for identifying “What is taking up all the space?” is a free tool called Disk Inventory X which you can get at this link (click the upper right button to download, where it says  8.3 MB)

http://www.derlien.com/downloads/index.html

You may have to follow these instructions to open an application from an unknown developer. When you install and run it, it can give you an idea of what is taking up the space and where it is. Usually for a lot of people the answer is pretty straightforward like “Music” or “Old movies” or “Photos that you also have in iCloud.” In fact, a lot of times syncing iCloud stuff when you take a lot of photos is the thing filling up people’s hard drives. The #2 thing is old backups that are stored somewhere on the hard drive that they moved there when they got a new computer but never investigated. Continue reading “Ask A Librarian: Hard Drive Cleanup for Macs?”

Ask A Librarian: Librarian Resistance tips?

sign that says PRAXIS in big letters on the side of a building

From the Mailbag, a UVM grad: I’ve always had a deep love for libraries, reading, and learning. In college, that love coalesced into a passion for leftist politics and I hope to direct this love into constructively making a difference in the world. I’ve been researching and working on applying to graduate school to get a Master’s in Library Science. In conversation with one of my favorite professors… she recommended I look you up. Your work as part of the “librarian resistance” as you call it is super inspiring to me as a firm believer in libraries as having massive potential for advancing social justice as far as they spread free access to knowledge and technology to the community they exist in. I’m wondering if you have any advice for an aspiring librarian?
 

Hey there — always good to hear from another library-interested person in Vermont. I should note before I go much further that I have a lot of interesting jobs but do not currently work in a library, so I may not be the best person to talk to about actual library work. I do have a lot of advice though. Continue reading “Ask A Librarian: Librarian Resistance tips?”