My name is Alister Willis and I am a Library Services Officer at the Kingston Library. Before working there, I started as a volunteer, which is where I developed a significant amount of my experience as a digital mentor.
Some of my most fond memories as a volunteer were the one-to-one help sessions that we offered to the public when they needed help with technology, partly due to the personal and informal nature of the sessions, but also due to positive and friendly nature of the individuals who were always so willing to learn and listen. At the time, and due to my ignorance, I still remember being somewhat surprised at the scale of people who were signing up for the sessions due to their various struggles with technology.
After gaining employment at the Kingston Library, I eventually started assisting with some of the Community Learning classes and services that we had on offer. I was thrilled at the opportunity, since it let me tap into the experiences I was so fond of as a volunteer, albeit this time on a larger scale.
At this point I was introduced to Be Connected, which has been an invaluable resource as both a teacher and student of all things digital. Their goal to empower Australians to embrace technology particularly resonated with me, since I had already experienced a lot of the stigma towards the world of technology, which is admittedly understandable considering the daunting rate at which it is constantly changing. Their style of delivering information was also a perfect fit, since it remained personal, informal and inclusive to a wide range of digital literacy levels.
As a digital native, I had often taken for granted the technological skills and knowledge I had accumulated while growing up. The best part about being a digital mentor is getting to share those skills with an incredible community of friendly, like-minded people who want to thrive in today’s digital environment.