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October 06, 2023

Don’t Know Much ‘Bout Computers? The Library Can Help!

By Tori Rumschlag, Collection Development Librarian

Welcome to October! Time for spooks, haunts, and… computers?

Yes, October is Computer Learning Month! Established in 1987, the purpose of this month-long learnathon is to close digital literacy gaps and help those unfamiliar with computers learn more. In 1987, this would have been a ‘computer awareness’ event, as computers were not as ubiquitous as they are in 2023. Nowadays, everyone knows all the amazing things that computers can do, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t still plenty of room for learning for all computer users of all ages.

No matter what stage you’re at in your computer learning journey, the library has something to offer you this October. Let’s highlight some ways you can stretch your computer skills and knowledge this month, online or with library resources, in classes or independently!

Computer Basics

Don’t know much about computers? Thankfully, anyone can get started with any level of ability.

For the very beginners, consider attending our Introduction to Computers class at the library. This class, currently offered bimonthly, teaches computers from the ground up – turning on/off, using a mouse, opening the Internet, using a mouse. If you have those basics down, then classes like Save It/Find It, Introduction to Windows 11, or Introduction to Typing may be your next move. See our full computer class schedule here: Noblesville & Fishers

If you can get on the internet independently, then there are plenty of great places to go to learn more. My favorites include:


DigitalLearn.org covers all the basics of computer skills – from getting started on a computer to internet skills to the basics of many common programs (like Microsoft Word or Facebook). They also cover specific topics like finding online health information and video conferencing.

Goodwill Community Foundation

The Goodwill Community Foundation is an expansive source of computer and digital literacy tutorials. Subjects include Microsoft Office (think Excel, PowerPoint, and more); Internet basics; Google; Job Search; and even Creativity & Design, with image editing and graphic design. These modules are broken into individual tutorials, so you can pick and choose which lessons will fit your education journey.

Computer Basics Booklist

Online Research

One of the most sought-after digital literacy skills in today’s market is online research. While one person can never know everything, great research skills means you can learn just about anything quickly and effectively. Learning how to do online research takes practice. As much as we all love to hit that Google Search button, effective research goes much deeper.

According to experts at LinkedIn, the most important parts of online research include having a clear research question, choosing your search tools wisely, using advanced search techniques to refine your results, evaluating your sources, and organizing your research well for later review. You can find more information about doing research from University of Toronto and GCF Global.

Of course, in this age of misinformation, it’s important to evaluate your sources and think critically about information you find. The Lydia M. Olson Library (Northern Michigan University) has a great table for evaluating websites. Some of the highlights include asking “can this information be verified from another source?” and “does the author use clear language and support their information with adequate facts and data?”

Reference librarians are always happy to help you with your research needs. Some great search tools provided by the library include:

HEPL Research Databases

HEPL offers a range of databases for researchers. Many of these resources are geared towards specific subjects or age ranges, so make sure to take a look at the full list to get an idea of where to go next! Need help with any of these websites? Most have tutorials available on the home page.

INSPIRE Research Databases

INSPIRE is a fantastic online tool provided by the Indiana State Library. Amongst other things, INSPIRE offers access to a wide range of databases and sources for research. Don’t know where to begin? Type your research question into the search box at the top of the page to see which resources may contain answers and information.

Online Research Booklist

Graphic Design

Graphic design is the art of creating visual content to communicate information. Advertisements, book covers, business cards, and websites use thoughtful design to share a message. You can learn to harness this power for professional and personal uses – for everything from blog pages to birthday invites!


One of the most powerful graphic design tools available is Canva. Canva is free (with premium upgrades available) and offers a wealth of tutorials and premade design templates. Check out Canva’s Design School here. This website includes instructions on how to use Canva for beginners, different Canva functions (print advertising, presentations, and more!), and using Canva for video design. The library also periodically offers Intro to Graphic Design Using Canva classes about once a quarter (next offered in 2024). Make sure to keep your eye out on the events calendar – this class fills up fast!


You can also explore graphic design using the Adobe Suite, including InDesign and Photoshop. The library has many books on Adobe programs, and you can access this paid program via the Digital Media Lab at Noblesville and Ignite Studio at Fishers. Both require reservations, so call ahead!

Graphic Design Booklist