NEW GLASGOW - Helping Pictonians get the most from their technological gadgets has been keeping Travis Roulston busy for the past year.
Roulston is a Community Access Program intern with the Pictou Antigonish Regional Library. He works in the New Glasgow, Stellarton and Westville branches and residents can call to book an hour's worth of assistance. And come back again and again if they need more help.
"People want to improve their computer skills, to use their digital cameras or even to get their GPS (global positioning system) working. The most demand has been for helping the middle-aged and seniors with e-mail. Often people have relatives who have moved away and they'd like to be able to e-mail," he said.
People have the same motivation for wanting to learn how to use Skype, he added.
"They've heard about using the computer to talk to people and they want to know how it is done so they can keep in touch with family," he said, adding people also ask for help with Facebook.
Not everybody is seeking help for recreational use, though.
"There are people who come in regularly to learn programs they think they will need to get back into the workforce. A lot of these people don't have computers at home and the only place they have access is at the library," he said.
Some people are embarrassed by their lack of computer knowledge, others are just hesitant and others are excited to learn, he said, adding the process can be stressful or emotional for some.
"I have no IT training so I don't think I am too intimidating. I generally understand how people approach technology because I have to learn the same way. I understand their sense of not being in control and I appreciate how they feel when they are enabled to make connections," he said.
Roulston swears his own high tech equipment consists of an old plastic cell phone and a computer that should be replaced.
"I've never been the guy who was into all the latest technology but in the last year I've found it really interesting to learn a variety of technology at the same time I am instructing people," he said.
He agrees getting assistance at the library can often be more productive than asking computer-hogging teenagers at home or busy adult children.
"The library is often the best place to learn. I've got patience and I get satisfaction from helping people get a little more mobile, not in a physical sense, but in terms of using technology," he said.
A political science graduate from St. Francis Xavier University, Roulston said the work at the library has given him an appreciation for providing service.
"I think it has been good experience so I might find something in the government service sector," he said, adding he has interests he wants to pursue.
He recently completed 200 hours of training to be a yoga instructor.
"I like the relaxation, the meditative state yoga can bring about," he said, adding it is important for overall health and fitness.
He also has an interest in music and plays guitar while learning to play drums and keyboard.
"I'm starting to see how technology can enhance music. I'm feeling less limited by the instruments I have at home," he said.