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Tablet users enjoy Gadget Menagerie

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Posted: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 9:05 am

MOSES LAKE - Washington State Library staff have been traveling the state since January helping owners of tablets and eReaders better understand their devices.

They've taken their Gadget Menagerie training to dozens of libraries across Washington, with the goal of providing 70 sessions in 40 locations by July. They were in Moses Lake Monday for two sessions - one at Big Bend Community College and one at the Moses Lake Public Library.

The state library is offering the training to help people learn how to use their various devices to access a library's online resources, according to a state library news release. The training is funded by the state library through the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

More than a dozen people attended the training at Big Bend. Some brought their own tablets, while others explored ones from the state library.

Jennifer Fenton, of the state library, told participants the goal of the class was to just explore their devices and get more comfortable with them. Since each person will want to use their device for something different- like accessing e-books or magazines, surfing the web or downloading music, the session would be pretty informal with lots of time for questions, she said.

Fenton and another state library staff member, along with Big Bend library staff, spent a couple of hours answering various questions about connecting to wifi, checking e-mail, using the tablet's camera and downloading e-books.

Rex Manning, of Moses Lake, said he attended the training to learn more about how his tablet worked for his wife who couldn't attend.

"If I tinker around with something long enough, I'll eventually figure it out," he said. "But my wife had to work so I told her I would come and hear what they have to say."

Manning said he uses an RCA tablet primarily for gaming. His wife, however, likes to use her tablet to read books on quilting and other crafts, he said.

"You used to just go to Barnes & Noble to get these books, but now everything can be done on here," said Manning.

He said his wife also likes to look at patterns online and will print out her favorites instead of going to the store to get them. She can buy the pattern on her tablet, send it to her laptop and then print it out, said Manning.

The training was also helpful for people who haven't purchased a tablet yet, but are looking. Moses Lake resident Anita Hughes said she is looking for a tablet so she can download more e-books.

Hughes is planning to go on a cruise in the coming months and wants to take a tablet with her.

"I travel a lot and I always see people with tablets," she said. "So I want to decide which tablet to buy if I want to buy one."

Hughes spent time playing with a Kindle Fire and a Microsoft Surface during the training. She said she was leaning toward the Microsoft tablet because it had a bigger screen and a detachable keyboard.

Fenton said exploring different devices is a good idea before purchasing one of your own.

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