GREENBURGH, N.Y. Seniors eager to learn about the Internet and social media are flocking to the Thursday meetings of The Computer Club for Adult Beginners at Greenburgh Public Library, says program director Nancy McCrory.
Internet usage among American adults 65 and older has nearly tripled in the past 12 years, according to data from Pew Research Center. McCrory says that at its last session the library didn't have enough computers for all the people who showed up.
"We wanted to have some form of social gathering place where adults could come and meet with other members of the community and learn from us and from one another," she said.
The club started last fall and has grown to the point that during the last session the 27 members who attended had to be grouped in pairs and threes because there weren't enough computers, she said.
As of April, 53 percent of Americans over 65 were using the Internet or email, according to Pew, marking the first time ever that half of the country's seniors were online. Facebook and Twitter are becoming more popular, too. The study reports that one-third of Internet users 65 and older also use social networking sites.
McCrory said many of the club's members attend so they can keep up with their children.
"The most challenging thing is, we ask them, 'What do you want to learn?' and they say, 'Everything.' How do you break that down?" she laughed.
The club meets the first and third Thursdays of the month at 10 a.m. Microsoft Office, Google, email and social media basics are just a few of the topics on the lesson plan. McCrory is now asking that members bring their own laptops so everyone will have a computer.
She says the club is a great way to learn about technology without having to take computer courses that charge up to $300.
"We want people to have fun and to keep coming back to the library to see what they can do," she said. "It's a no-pressure environment for learning."
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