Superior Library pours out knowledge on smartphone use
Sip and Swipe Cafe classes, designed to help participants get comfortable using their devices, are filling up.
SUPERIOR — A new class offered by the Superior Public Library is generating some buzz.
Seats are booked up through May for Sip & Swipe Cafe, a free course designed to help participants gain confidence using their smartphones or tablets. Led by coaches Leslie Mehle and Lexi Brunkow, the two-day, four-hour course is offered in a small group setting.
“And one girl, Leslie, does the Android and Lexi, she does the iPhone, so they’re a perfect combination,” said Kay Fredrickson, who graduated with her husband, Jim, from the first Sip & Swipe class, held Feb. 7 and Feb. 9.
Although the Fredricksons were comfortable using their iPhones, they signed up.
“I thought, any little bit of new information I can learn and my husband can learn, it will be great,” Fredrickson said. “And those two girls, they put it down so simply. They are so kind. It was just so fun.”
They did learn new things — how to press the on button to put the smartphone into sleep mode to conserve battery power, for example, and how to upload pictures to Facebook.
“And how to, let me see, you have open apps. I didn’t know how you close those out. I had 100 and something. My husband had 540 open apps, so we thought that was pretty good. So that’ll save us power,” Fredrickson said.
A new class, this one for Android devices, met in the library conference room Tuesday, Feb. 14. Students introduced themselves.
“I’m Carol, and my husband bought me an Android phone and nobody I know has an Android phone, so I have had no help whatsoever. What I’ve learned is from this dummy book, which isn’t much,” said Carol Arthur of Superior.
Rachael Martin had the same problem.
“My husband bought me a phone and he bought me an Android phone and I have no idea how to use it. So I keep bugging him and I think he’s kind of exasperated,” Martin said.
Her husband, Robert, once had a flip phone for taking calls, but he was told it wouldn’t work on the new 5G network. His service provider gave him a new smartphone.
“And I can make a phone call and receive a phone call, but that’s about it. I mean, I can navigate my way around a couple of things on here, but the frustration level gets really high with this,” he said. “Our disadvantage is, we don’t have a 12-year-old grandkid to do all these things, set it up.”
The group learned the basics and how to navigate online using their phones in the first two-hour session; the second focused on email, texting, video chat and more.
Participants bring their own devices, and the librarians lead them through an online course provided by Generations on Line.
“One thing that they tell us as coaches is we’re not supposed to touch your phones, we’re supposed to make you do it. I have a really hard time with this because, as a librarian, I’m used to people handing me their devices and me just doing what they need to do. So stop me if I try to take your phone,” Mehle, manager of library programs and partnerships, told Tuesday’s participants.
While it’s aimed at seniors, the class can be helpful for anyone who could use some assistance, she said. The low class size allows the coaches to provide individualized instruction.
“Everyone’s kind of going at their own pace,” Mehle said.
The class also discussed security — how to tell if a website is secure, what tricks scammers use, the difference between .gov, .org and .com sites and that banking, credit card and other personal information should not be shared when using public WiFi.
“That was one of the most important things about the class, you know. I need to remember this,” Fredrickson said.
She encouraged others to sign up, saying it was perfect for seniors and well worth the time.
“It’s free parking, free class, coffee and tea. What could be better?” Fredrickson asked.
Between classes and after graduation, participants can continue exploring on their own.
“They can do this at home. We’ve sent people home with the link already up there so they can keep practicing,” said Brunkow, a social worker consultant and librarian.
The course is available online, as well. Visit www.generationsonline.org under the get started tab on the side.
To sign up for the free Sip & Swipe course, call 715-394-8860 or stop by the library and sign up at the circulation desk.