The books and certs wont make you a computer expert, but they'll get you a job that will. Totally agreed. Also, you don't need the certs to get started with the jobs. You can make a lot more than minimum wage as a very entry level tier 1 phone answering dude who's pretty good at computers.
Oh, and since you're broke... don't go to barnes and noble... be a little less noble and learn how to torrent if you don't already. (hey, at least im not suggesting he sell weed like another guy did)
We have a former intern who just got a real job this week with us. He worked in landscaping but basically went this 'learn computers' route and it works.