The Community Access Program (CAP) has been in our communities since 1995. It provides access to the Internet and technology, as well as training. Yes, there are more and more computers in our homes and mobile devices mean some people are connected wherever they go. The question I have for you is what if you are new to computers, where do you go to learn how to use them?
Sure, you can take a Microsoft Word course in a variety of places, but what if you aren't comfortable enough with computers to do that? Maybe you are comfortable with what you use now, but what if you wish to begin using a new piece of technology? CAP sites have been providing this "comfort level" kind of training for years. CAP sites have even more to offer, they also offer more advanced training workshops.
All of our branch libraries are CAP sites. The computers are a very busy service of these sites. Those using these computers aren't just those without Internet at home. Those travelling use this service, some using the wireless Internet connection that is available to them 24/7. We are seeing more users that have Internet at home, but there is only one computer, so they come to CAP sites for more access. There has been a substantial increase in the number of one-on-one training sessions booked this year; the demand for these isn't going away.
Well, the demand isn't going away, but the Community Access Program as we have known it is. The Federal Government announced on April 5th that it will discontinue funding the program, effective immediately. Sites may continue to operate for a while, but eventually you will see the effects of this decision. Sites within libraries will be slower to replace equipment and it will be more difficult to provide the workshops and training that are needed. You can help, but don't wait. Contact your MPs and your MLAs to let them know the importance of the program. Visit the website www.savecap.ca for more information. And if you still aren't convinced, hear from a user of the program what CAP means on this short video.
If you are reading this blog you are fortunate to be able to navigate the Internet. Not everyone can do this, yet.
Head of Systems and Administration