Friday August 22, 2014

Tech service saved by grant


Michelle Hamelin at Yorkton Public Library.

An extremely popular service at Yorkton Public Library will continue thanks to a grant from Sask Lotteries.

Last November, the library obtained a grant from a program called Sask YI. The program, funded through the federal government’s Youth Employment Strategy was designed to provide young people with information and communications technology (ICT) internships at community access sites, such as libraries.

The library hired Michelle Hamelin, a new mother, to provide help to area residents on smart phones, tablets, computers, the Internet, email and basically anything related to ICT.

It took a while for the community to catch on, but by February Hamelin was in high demand.

“It’s constant,” she said. “Sometimes there’s enough time for a walk-in, but usually you have to book an appointment.”

The demand is mostly from seniors, but anyone is welcome to utilize the service and people do from Norquay to Melville to Langenburg and beyond.

Lori Barsi, the library’s assistant chief librarian, explained libraries are the perfect place for such a service since it is a technological extension of what they have always done, provide free access to information.

Barsi gives a lot of credit to Hamelin for the success of the program saying she is personable, approachable, knowledgeable and gets along with everybody.

“She is the perfect person to deal with all the different personalities,” Barsi said.

Based on the demand, chief librarian Meagan Richards went looking for new sources of funding and found Sask Lotteries.

Richards said Hamelin will be around at least well into the summer. She would like to be able to make it a permanent position, but so far, the money is not available so she will continue to look for grant opportunities to keep the program going.

“She does a wonderful job,” Richards said.

Hamelin would like to see the job became permanent as well, which, in fact, is one of the goals of the Youth Employment Strategy.

“I hope it does,” she said. “I think all of the bigger libraries should have it, or communities should, because it helps a lot.”



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