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Crandall Public Library
Aaron Eisenhauer - Garry Hearn, a product designer and consultant, uses one of the computer stations at Crandall Public Library to make changes to his son's and daughter-in-law's resumes as Gerald Matraw checks email at the computer next to him on Sunday, December 5, 2010. Hearn, who is in the process of moving to Glens Falls, doesn't currently have access to his personal computer while Matraw says he has no computer of his own.

GLENS FALLS - Jackie Treat hadn't realized how much the job search process had changed.

"I started looking for jobs and I said, ‘Wait a minute.'"

The former sales representative of a paper company relocated to the Glens Falls area after the job she held since 1992 was eliminated.

Instead of going straight to the job market, Treat went to Crandall Public Library for free computer skills classes such as how to apply for jobs online, basic Internet skills and how to prepare a PowerPoint presentation.

"Now, I can really go out and do something," said Treat, who feels confident now to go out on job interviews.

Treat is among the participants in a new job readiness training program the library is offering through a contract with Northeast Career Planning, a local career counseling service.

The two-year program, running through September 2012, is being paid for with $244,500 in federal stimulus funding.

The employment training program is among the reasons why computer use at Crandall Public Library is significantly increasing, but not the only reason.

"Sometimes, there are waiting lines," said library Director Christine McDonald.

Some use library computers because they don't own a personal computer, and others because high speed Internet is not available at their homes.

Tourists and business people passing through the area also use library computers.

Library officials said the library has become a central place where people come to access information, participate in social networking or learn how to use computers and web sites.

"We get a lot of who people come in and say, ‘My printer just crashed. Help me!," said Guinevere Forshey, a librarian.

Downloading airline boarding passes or uploading digital photographs to Facebook are among some of the more common procedures people ask assistance with, she said.

In the summer, tourists frequently use library computers to get information about which horses are entered in the next day's races at Saratoga Race Course, said library Assistant Director Kathy Naftaly.

Computer use also might be up simply because the library has more computers, which means more people can use computers at the same time.

The library recently purchased six additional computers, paid for with funding for the job readiness program, McDonald said.

Three more computers, including one with a work station accessible from a wheelchair, will be installed next year, Naftaly said.

Computer classes and workshops on topics ranging from Introduction to Computers and Introduction to the Internet to Microsoft Word and PowerPoint are open to the public free of charge.

"We've had a lot of people come in with their own computers, their laptops, and say, 'We don't even know how to turn it on," said Jenny Cooper, an instructor with Northeast Career Planning.

Classes are oriented for those seeking employment, but are open to anyone.

People also can come in during open lab periods, when instructors are available to answer questions and provide individual assistance, Cooper said.

Visit the library reference desk or call 792-6508 Ext. 266 for a schedule of classes and to register.

At some point, library officials hope to expand its offerings to include classes how to use e-mail and social networking sites, McDonald said.

"So social networking is down the pike," she sid.





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