People looking to improve their computer skills for work, learn how to navigate social media or even use that e-reader they received at Christmas can do so for free at the Martins Ferry Public Library.
Thanks to the passage of a tax levy last year that provided the Belmont County District Library with about $500,000 in additional annual funding, the Martins Ferry branch, 20 S. Fifth St., Martins Ferry, is offering free classes to the public.
District Director Yvonne Myers said over the years the library district - which includes facilities in Martins Ferry, Bridgeport, Shadyside, Bethesda, Flushing and Powhatan - has lost about $500,000 in funding, which resulted in the cutting of operating hours, money for new books and materials and classes. Because of the new money services are being brought back, and people are starting to take advantage of what is being offered again, she said.
"We couldn't have done it if we hadn't got the levy," Myers said, adding the district's annual budget is about $1 million a year.
Classes, which are taught by library assistant Russell Reed, are held in a computer lab in the library's basement classroom.
A new schedule of classes is typically released every three months. Classes already held in April included basic computer, Microsoft Word, a writing workshop and Microsoft Excel. Upcoming classes include: 2-3 p.m. Monday, library online catalogue; 10 a.m. to noon May 13, smartphone basics; 1-4 p.m. basic computer, May 15; 10 a.m. to noon May 16, E-reader assistance; 10 a.m. to noon May 29, digital camera/photo editing; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 5, Microsoft Publisher; 2-4 p.m. June 11, e-reader assistance; 10 a.m. to noon June 13, Facebook basics; 1-4 p.m. June 18, advanced computer.
Myers said more classes, including repeats of those already held, will be slated in July. A break will be taken in August and classes restart in September.
For more information, to register for a class or to suggest a topic, call 740-633-0314 or visit www.mfpl.org.