You might not think attending a basic computer class would include a field trip for ice cream, meeting at a restaurant and bonding over favorite foods, but the Tully Community Branch Library’s Basic Computer Class in Vietnamese has traveled beyond the Library’s walls on several occasions.
In one class, what started as a lesson about Yelp, the popular, crowd-sourced review website, ended with a visit to a local, well-reviewed restaurant. During another class when the overhead projector was not working properly, the students suggested reconvening at a local ice cream shop.
When asked about the camaraderie among the students and volunteer tech mentors in the Basic Computer Class in Vietnamese, the tech mentors said they enjoy helping the students, many who have never used a computer. They also said they use their Vietnamese speaking skills nearly 100% of the time in the class.
Chau Vu, one of the computer class tech mentors, said many of the students have known each other for a long time and they are very welcoming to new students. She added that she and the tech mentors also create a welcoming inclusive, environment. Chau has been volunteering for two years and after every class, she leaves smiling from ear to ear with the same message that the class went well and was a lot of fun.
Natalie Nguyen, the lead computer class tech mentor, said she organized an end of the year test and planned to give a gift to the most improved student. However, so many students improved that she ended up awarding several gifts. Natalie said that she loves volunteering and finds it a lot of fun.
Hung Tong, a computer class tech mentor who is still in high school, said the students encourage him to continue his education and they have introduced him to computer-related volunteer opportunities outside the Library. Hung enjoys using his Vietnamese speaking skills and assisting people.
In addition to learning how to use a computer, navigate the internet, use email and receive instruction on a variety of computer applications, the Basic Computer Class in Vietnamese at Tully Library fosters a sense of community, fun and togetherness. The class embodies San Jose Public Library’s vision of the Library as learning center and community builder.
Tully Community Branch Library’s Basic Computer Class in Vietnamese takes place every Wednesday from 6:30-8:00 PM.