The Pickerington Public Library will host a series of workshops in January designed to bring computer novices up to speed on the Internet's most popular advances.

The Pickerington Public Library will host a series of workshops in January designed to bring computer novices up to speed on the Internet's most popular advances.

"These are a little more advanced classes we have planned for January, and in February, we'll go back to the beginners' classes," said Judith Cosgray, technical services manager and reference library at the Pickerington Public Library. "They require a little more knowledge about computers and the Internet, but you don't have to be an expert.

"These classes will give you tools to use the Internet and some of its features more effectively."

Throughout January, the library will host courses designed to educate computer users about e-mail, building websites, use of social-networking sites and blogging.

Those wishing to attend are asked to bring their own laptop computers, but the library has a limited number of laptops available to those who don't own a portable computer.

The first session will take place at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 6 when Cosgray will host "Build Your Own Website on a Budget." It will provide attendees with the basics about creating websites without spending much - or any - cash.

"I get a lot of questions on how websites are built or how to build your own website," Cosgray said.

A former manager of the Ohio State University's James Cancer Center's Oncology Department website, Cosgray said she's discovered a wealth of Internet programs that offer free site-building services and programs.

"There's a way for people to go in and have sites without having to buy the big site programs," she said. "I'll show them the difference between a good and bad website, and I'll give them a list of how to create a website and map it out."

Cosgray said she can host up to 20 people for the website building class. Registration is required, and can be done by calling the library at (614) 837-4104, extension 233.

At 1:30 p.m. Jan. 9, Cosgray will lead a workshop on "E-mail Tips and Tricks." This course will teach the basics of sending and receiving electronic messages, as well as tricks for replying to e-mails, carbon copying and forwarding them.

From there, Cosgray will foray into social networking, a phenomenon that, thanks to websites such as Facebook and Twitter, has spread throughout the world.

The library will host "Intro to Social Networking - Twitter, Flickr and Facebook" at 3 p.m. Jan. 13.

"This will feature the little things of what you should and should not do while social networking," Cosgray said. "If you know how to use these sites correctly, they're a great way to keep in touch with people and they're fun."

Registration also is required for the social networking program and can be completed by calling (614) 837-4104, extension 233.

At 10 a.m. Jan. 22, the library will host a special workshop on Flickr, a social-networking site that allows people to post and share photographs with specific people, or with anyone on the Internet.

Registration is required for the Flickr workshop, as well.

The library's final Internet workshop of the month will come on Jan. 29 at 10 a.m., when it hosts "Blogging 101."

Internet blogs generally are maintained by individuals who regularly provide commentary, descriptions of events or other materials, such as graphics or videos.

"People usually think of it as somebody's journal, but really, blogs have moved on to become places where you can get valuable information," Cosgray said. "We'll show you how to create a blog and what to put in it and what not to put in it."

Through each of the programs to be offered next month, Cosgray said, she hopes to help people become more familiar and comfortable with the Internet and its various features. The applications, she said, will help people stay connected, have a better understanding of what their children and grandchildren are doing online, as well as help people seeking to change careers or re-enter the workforce find new jobs.

"Even if somebody does not feel they are as proficient with computers, they can at least get exposed and come at a later date and have those tools to use computers and the Internet more effectively," Cosgray said.