Echo comment: Inspirational to see so many of our senior citizens throw themselves into learning about technology 

Echo comment: Inspirational to see so many of our senior citizens throw themselves into learning about technology 

Cork County Council’s Library and Arts Services has rolled out the Age Friendly Libraries’ Digital Ambassadors’ Programme.

ONE of our proudest boasts as a community will be if we can become known as an age-friendly one.

Of course, in a large number of ways, Cork is age friendly, but we must always seek to advance in terms of services and facilities.

Cork County Council’s Library and Arts Services has rolled out the Age Friendly Libraries’ Digital Ambassadors’ Programme.

Launched recently by Mary Butler, TD, state minister with responsibility for mental health and older people, the programme will see ‘digital ambassadors’ deliver remote tutoring to older people, either online or over the phone, to help them join, and engage with, the library’s online services.

The scheme, developed in partnership by Age Friendly Ireland and Libraries Ireland, aims to support older people in accessing the wealth of online library resources, such as e-newspapers, e-magazines, e-books, audiobooks, podcasts, and many more learning resources.

The programme will also facilitate older people to participate in online activities, such as classes, meetings, and book clubs, enabling continuous community participation from home.

It has been inspirational to see so many of our senior citizens, who might previously not have bothered with technology, or who might have doubted their ability to master it, throw themselves into learning about it, and engaging with it, since the Covid-19 pandemic forced us into lockdowns.

Their mastery of the various devices and apps has enhanced their own lives and those of their family members.

Mayor of the County of Cork Mary Linehan Foley was quite right when she welcomed news of the Age Friendly Libraries’ Digital Ambassadors’ Programme, saying: “Libraries play a vital role for communities in County Cork, providing a public space, freely accessible, in which people of all ages can relax, learn, and grow.

“Although physical access is restricted, it has never been more important for our library service to be accessible.

“I am immensely proud of the work that Cork County Council’s library staff have done in removing barriers to accessibility, particularly over the past 12 months.

“This latest programme of ‘digital ambassadors’ is a welcome, and hugely important, addition to connect older people with their library, while also enhancing their digital skills.”

Our libraries, both in the county and the city, have done amazing work during this pandemic and librarians and staff deserve enormous credit.

This latest scheme is another wonderful initiative, one of many rolled out in the city and county.

To avail of the Cork County Library Service Digital Ambassador Programme, contact your local library branch on 021 4546499, or email corkcountylibrary@corkcoco.ie. Cork County Council’s Covid-19 community support helpline continues to be available for practical support and assistance, by calling FREE to 1800 805 819, text 085 8709010, or email covidsupport@corkcoco.ie.

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