The Library Springfield-Greene County Library District Springfield, Missouri
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The Edge Offers Computer Skills for Beginners and Veterans

 At a time when computer skills are necessary for many higher-paying jobs, more people are getting just what they need through the Springfield-Greene County Library District.

Why? The Edge Community Technology Center inside the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library offers a range of computer training and software skills classes for beginners to advanced learners.

Every class is free and open to the public – attendees aren’t required to be library cardholders.

In these relaxed, no-pressure classes, people are overcoming their computer fears with basic keyboarding instruction, learning Internet basics, learning how to fill in job applications and write winning resumes.

Others are going at their own pace with interactive software tutorials, learning Windows Vista, Outlook, spreadsheets and MS PowerPoint.

Those looking for career and personal development skills can also go at their own pace with other interactive tutorials covering everything from “The Art of Organization” to “The Art of Stress Management,” and from  “Criticism: Giving and Taking,” to “How to Write and Deliver Great Speeches.”

Interested in taking some of the library’s free computer classes but can’t make it to the Edge? The Edge will come to you. The Edge to the Rescue program provides a range of skills classes at six library branches including Ash Grove, Brentwood, Fair Grove, Republic, Strafford and Willard.  

 The Edge computer lab at the Midtown Carnegie Branch Library hit its all-time high for a single month in March, with 608 attendees at our free computer skills training classes. The next-highest ever was 500, in February.

Increasingly, they sought help from Edge staff during tutorial sessions on how to do an online job search, create a resume and fill out a job application, says Jazy Mihalik, Edge training coordinator.

A grant in late 2009 also allowed the Edge to buy 10 more laptops, giving the Edge a total of 25 to meet the pent-up demand for class slots.

 “Every single job, anymore, seems to require some kind of computer skills like Word or Excel,” Mihalik says. “Even filling out a job application online, they have to have at least basic computer skills. Those tutorials can give them that.”

Older adults are also driving demand, Mihalik adds.

“We see an awful lot of seniors who are still trying to get into the digital age. It keeps advancing and they feel so far out of touch,” she says.

The Edge has a class series specifically for seniors, where they can learn how to use the Internet, download audiobooks or just e-mail the grandkids in Michigan.

Registration is required for all the classes, and can be made by calling 837-5011. You can check out the entire Edge and Edge to the Rescue schedule at, or pick up a catalog at any branch library.

Kathleen O'Dell is community relations director for the Springfield-Greene County Library District. She can be reached at

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