Palouse Reporter Rachel Dubrovin explains how these brand new digital literacy courses can benefit people of all ages and skill levels.
In this day and age, basic knowledge of computers is essential.
"In 2012, 50% percent of the jobs required some level of technology skills," said Neill Public Library Director, Joanna Bailey.
That's why the Washington State Legislature is working to increase computer literacy by offering the Microsoft Digital Literacy Curriculum in more than 400 libraries across the state.
"We're offering computer instruction," said Bailey ."On your own time. In the environment that is most comfortable for you."
"Residents throughout Whitman County, you know, from the smallest of towns, and if you've got a home computer, even from home, can take these classes for free," said Whitman County Libraries Director Kristie Kirkpatrick.
Pullman's Neill Public Library and all 14 Whitman County libraries are participating in the online I-T Academy. It offers classes that cover the most basic computer skills, and classes for intermediate and advanced users.
"The fact that it's free, is amazing," said Kirkpatrick. "I mean this course work would normally cost you quite a bit of money."
And it's available from any place with internet access, just head to the library's website.
"You will need a library card, and an e-mail account,and once you have those two things, you're set to go," said Kirkpatrick.
And for those that need help turning on a computer, the library staff are trained to help the true beginners get started.
"So come to the library, schedule a book a librarian session," said Bailey. "We will walk you through how to get started. So that in addition to introducing those concepts, you've got a one-on-one instructor for the time being."
Whitman County Libraries Director Kristie Kirkpatrick said this is especially valuable for residents in rural Whitman County.
"So often, I feel that we get left behind," said Kirkpatrick. "Whether it's technology or expensive sorts of products like this, and so this really levels the playing field. You know, especially for people hunting for jobs. It's just an amazing resource."
Many of the courses will require a library card. All Whitman County residents are eligible for a Whitman County Library card, while anyone can sign up for a Neill Public Library Card in Pullman.
Find out more about the classes and how to obtain a library card at Neill Public Library and Whitman County Libraries.