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New cart makes library a computer hot spot

Expanded classes much more convenient thanks to library's Mobile Learning Lab

TIDINGS PHOTO: CLIFF NEWELL - Rick Peterson and Cheryl Hill are excited about the new Mobile Learning Lab at West Linn Public Library. It will make tremendous difference in the library's computer classes.The Mobile Learning Lab has taken away all of the inconvenience about learning computer programs at West Linn Public Library.

The shiny brand new cart holds 15 Windows laptops and 12 Apple laptops. What’s more, the wheels on the cart enable it to be moved to any part of the library. What’s not to like? Library manager Rick Peterson rates the lab as “really slick.”

“It is going to make such a BIG difference on our computer classes,” Peterson said. “We can tailor the software to programs that people want. This is the only mobile learning lab in Clackamas County. We’re pretty excited about it.”

In the old days (prior to last week) all computer classes in the library had to be taught in the computer lab. Because of this, library patrons had to be politely kicked out of the area and classes could only be held in the evenings. Now there are options all over the place for the kinds of classes and times when they can be taught. The cart can even be moved into the library’s spacious community room, which provides a quieter environment conducive to learning. Popular demand by patrons has been met.

“Young people used to say to me, ‘Hey, it would be great if you could show us Excel or Power Point,’” Peterson said. “Before we were the only library in Clackamas County offering computer classes. Now we’re even improving on them.”

“I’m very excited,” said Cheryl Hill, adult services librarian. “I taught computer classes in our computer lab and we had some success, but we were limited. Now we’re very flexible with a better learning environment that will be better for teachers and patrons. We’ve always had a staff that has been excited about classes like this.”

All of this good stuff was made possible by a $40,000 grant from Clackamas County. With a computer class program already established, West Linn was able to make something good a lot better.

Peterson likes reeling off all of the classes and other benefits offered by the Mobile Learning Lab: Microsoft Office, including Word, Excel and Power Point; general computer basics; photo and video editing, which will enhance the new Makerspace planned at WLPL (mainly a creative center for young people); web designing and database and research expansion.

But no limits have been set on what the Mobile Learning Lab can offer.

“We would love it if people would tell us what classes they want,” Peterson said. “We’re going to have a big mix of people coming here for computer learning — retired people, job seekers and young people.”

West Linn Library is located at 1595 Burns St. For more information go to westlinnoregon.gov/library .