Over 80 residents have completed the classes held on campus at the Ashburn retirement community
(Ashburn, Virginia)—For the past several years, Ashby Ponds has received regular visits from Loudoun County Public Library's mobile outreach program. Outreach coordinators bring books, magazines, DVDs—anything available and requested by residents directly to the community for distribution. This service is a supplement to the robust Ashby Ponds library maintained on campus featuring thousands of books, including dozens from published authors who live at the community. Over the years, the library's outreach assistance has grown tremendously at Ashby Ponds due in part to the growing popularity of digital devices among seniors. In 2013, outreach coordinators began helping residents download the library's e-books, they then added one-on-one e-reader support, and now, they host iPad training classes right on campus.
Ashby Ponds resident Nan Krueger has served as a volunteer for years, helping fellow residents with their iPads and other devices, often going from apartment to apartment to provide tech support. As demand increased for assistance, Krueger began coordinating with Jason Margolies, Head of Adult Services at the Ashburn Library and his supervisor to host a training program at the community. Now, Margolies hosts a one-hour class, three times per month, serving 24 residents per session.
According to Margolies, graduates of the class should leave feeling comfortable with day-to-day iPad operations, including navigating the device, learning what Siri does, how to connect to Wi-Fi, relocating and closing apps, changing settings for accessibility, and learning how to use Loudoun County Public Library online services, among other skills.
Since iPad training classes began in December 2014 at Ashby Ponds, 83 residents have graduated from the program, according to Krueger. The eighth iPad training class at the community began in January 2016.
"Tablets have allowed seniors access to library services without needing to visit a local branch," said Margolies. "The library offers users the ability to download books, audiobooks, magazines, television shows, music, and movies. Online users can also access the library's databases and ask questions via email 24/7."
According to Margolies, the library's outreach services staff helps seniors with technology-related questions during visits to more than 20 communities like Ashby Ponds and senior centers throughout the county.
"Residents can still go to the Ashburn Library and get help," said Krueger. "But residents also love that the library comes to them!"
About Ashby Ponds: Ashby Ponds, one of 18 retirement communities managed by Erickson Living, is situated on a scenic 132-acre campus in Ashburn, Virginia (approximately 30 miles west of Washington, D.C.). The community is home to over 1000 residents and more than 120 resident-run and resident-driven clubs and groups, an indoor pool, a fitness club, transportation services, 24-hour security, and flexible dining options. More information about Ashby Ponds can be found at www.ericksonliving.com.