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Tech programs highlight Athenaeum offerings

WESTFIELD — As fall programming begins to take shape at the Westfield Athenaeum, two technology programs are being introduced in September, led by technology services librarian Erica LeFebvre.

One of the new programs is “Drop In Tech Time,” planned for the first Tuesday of the month. In September, because of the Labor Day holiday, the program will be observed on Sept. 8.

Erica LeFebvre, technology services librarian at the Westfield Athenaeum, will lead two new tech programs in September. (WESTFIELD ATHENAEUM PHOTO)

“Drop In Tech Time seems like a good idea because there are often people who have issues with their technology, but don’t know where to bring it,” said LeFebvre, a computer science graduate from Gettysburg College who worked in information technology jobs before starting at the Athenaeum.

“We are a library first, so people don’t always feel comfortable asking for help with technology that doesn’t relate to books,” she said. “I wanted to give people a space where they can feel comfortable bringing any questions that they have, at any level, where they can get some free assistance if they need it.”

LeFebvre said she has assisted people with a variety of questions, ranging from connecting Wi-Fi to an iPad to understanding how to navigate the latest cell phone.

Laptops will be made available for people having issues with computers at home, and persons with questions might also consider taking pictures of the issue and bringing them in to show LeFebvre.

“Feel free to bring whatever piece of technology you would like some help with, and we’ll do our best to help resolve the issue for you,” she said.

Since LeFebvre will be available most of the day on Sept. 8, beginning at 10 a.m., there is no requirement to register ahead.

“I can be reached through the reference desk where I also perform regular reference librarian responsibilities,” she added.

LeFebvre will also begin offering a new technology class — Introduction to Using Personal Computers” — on Sept. 21 at 5:30 p.m.

“This class is for anyone who is just getting started with a computer,” she said, adding, “It is created to be a bit more appealing to adults who want to be more familiar with their technology, but don’t have a good place to start.”

The class, based on Windows computers, is currently limited to 10 library patrons so registration is required by calling 413-568-7833, ext. 4, or click on the event calendar at

The 60-minute class has been structured to provide some question-and-answer time at the end, however, if people have additional questions, they can send an email to [email protected].

“People should attend this class if they would like to get started with using computers, or would like to know a little bit more about the computers they are already using,” she said.

The class will be conducted in the Committee Room and is planned for the third Tuesday of the month for the remainder of the year. Copies of PowerPoint slides will be available for patrons to take home.

“Sometimes computer jargon can be confusing to someone who’s seeking help from a loved one or a paid computer workshop, and I’m hoping that learning a bit more about the computer in general can help make these moments a little less stressful,” she said.

A highlight of the class will be resources needed to access the Internet.

“Many people may be confused about just where to start with using computers, and this is planned to give them a solid starting place to begin their computer learning journey,” said LeFebvre.

In other Athenaeum news for September, hours are changing to Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to Becky Blackburn, public services librarian.

September highlights also include:

  • Poetry Discussion Group, Sept. 3, on Zoom. “Share a poem (1-2 pages long) written by you or someone else,” said Blackburn, noting the topic will center on autumn.
  • Speculative Fiction Book Club, also a new offering this fall, is slated Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. “Come chat with other fans of science fiction, urban fantasy, and horror, as we discuss books by a diverse group of new and established authors in this expansive category of stories that ask ‘What if …?’,” said Blackburn. “September’s book is ‘Black Water Sister’ by Zen Cho.” Registration is required by emailing Kat at [email protected].
  • Local author Brittany Blake-Franklin will read her book “Pixie Luna Gets Adopted” on Sept. 18 at 11 a.m. “Rescued by the amazing people at Pickens County Partner for Pets, Pixie learns all about being a house dog, finds her courage, and eventually finds her forever family,” said Blackburn. Registration is required for the program which is for third through fifth grade. Since this is an in-person event, masks will be required to keep everyone safe, noted Blackburn.
  • Dan Steininger will talk about becoming a Lego master builder on Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m. “In the process of building large scale models, Steininger will discuss how Lego can change lives,” said Blackburn. The program is for children ages 7-12 and their families, and registration is required for the in-person event. Masks will be required to attend the program. This program is supported in part by a grant from the Westfield Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.
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