Thursday, May 9, 2013

Reference Question Roundup: computer help

Returning to the ever-popular reference question roundup feature on this blog, today's post is about common computer problems. Six of the public computers that offer free internet access are right next to the Reference Desk at the Berkeley Heights Public Library and throughout the day patrons who use the computers often ask the reference librarians for help. The problems that come up most frequently are:

  1. Printing documents, text, and images
  2. Filling out online job applications
  3. How to use a USB/flash drive or floppy disc (yes we still have floppy drives and give out free discs)
  4. Email issues such as:   
  • Opening and viewing email attachments
  • Printing email attachments
  • Adding email attachments versus sending a url or link in the text
  • Forgotten email provider, user names, and passwords. Many people have their email set up on their home computer to automatically open when they click on a shortcut on the desktop, but they don't know their user name or password or even what email service they use.  When their home computer goes down, they cannot use another computer to get into their email.
  • Confusion about spam and junk mail in email accounts and how to avoid viruses by not clicking on email from people with user names like and subject line 'I am freind neading mony from you right now thankes'
  • How to get a new email account when they can't access the old one because they don't know the provider, user name, password and/or the account has been hacked by the virus in the email attachment sent by someone they don't know which they opened by mistake. Whoops!
As you can see, email can be tricky, but we are glad to help patrons with it.

For other questions at the Reference Desk, take a look at this past post on our blog

And take a look at the Swiss Army Librarian's recurring column 'Reference Question of the Week.'

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