Thursday, February 23, 2012

What's MySQL?

Last week a woman called the library wanting to set up some computer instruction time. Specifically, she wanted help using WordPress to set up her blog. At my branch, the teen librarian is responsible for one-on-one computer sessions, helping older adults do things younger people grew up with: moving the mouse, left-clicking the mouse, and the basics of the internet. But because I have some experience with WordPress and blogging, I agreed to meet with this woman.

You can use WordPress in two different ways. In the first, hosts your site. It doesn't require you to be a computer expert, nor do you have to download any software. In the second, what my dad uses, you register at, buy a domain, find a server, do some stuff with ftp and mySQL, download software and then upload it to a server... My dad had professionals set up his site; now that it's up and running, he is able to maintain it.

I had assumed the woman had the second kind of site: that she had bought a domain and needed help getting it up and running. It wasn't until I began reading "WordPress for Dummies" that I understood how hard that would be. I had a notebook full of step-by-step instructions so that, even if I didn't know exactly what to do, I could lead her through it. Still, I was nervous.

When I finally met with her, I was relieved to find out she had the first kind of site--the one like I have. She wanted help changing the header, knowing where to go when she wanted to write a new post. Adding an email address. I could help her with these things. This is not above my pay grade.

We're going to meet again next week. I'm not sure now much individual attention I'll be able to continue to give her at work--our staff is already stretched thin, and I have other responsibilities at the branch--but in the mean time I'm happy to offer what help I can. It reminds me that just as she is pushing herself out of her comfort zone, using resources available to her to grow and try to enact change, I need to continue to push myself to grow, to keep writing, and to keep learning.

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