There is a stigma about learning: Learning is often associated with school and tests and things that happen between kindergarten and college—and it’s often seen as something a kid or teen is forced to do. However, I believe that learning can be fun and is actually a life-long process.
Think about how a baby will giggle once he learns how to mimic sticking his tongue out. He can’t get enough of the new skill. On the other end of life, I think about my grandmother who up until just a few months before she passed away was learning Spanish, studying Latin, watching documentaries about subjects that interested her, and knitting or crocheting afghans. She was in her 90s and still had an active mind that could run conversational circles around me. And she enjoyed it. (She often played games against me and declared she was the “Grand Champion of the Universe” when she beat me—which was quite frequently!) So, I do not believe that learning is boring or only something that kiddos in school should be doing. We can all enjoy being life-long learners!
The library is a great place for people who love to learn. We have so many great (and fun) educational resources. I can’t tell you how many times I see kids so excited that they are jumping up and down after getting out of an afterschool program—they just had so much fun learning! Yeah, you heard me right: Kids like learning. As long as it is a cool subject and they don’t have to take a test afterward…they will enjoy it. And let’s not forget about story time! There is so much giggling and laughing that goes along with those youngsters learning early literacy skills. Not to brag, but kids’ programs are one of our fortes.
But what about teens or adults? The good news is that the library has fun learning opportunities for us as well! First of all, the Adult and Teen Department does an amazing series of programs called Learn It. A Learn It can be about anything from personal finance to personal health. In September there is a Learn It about braiding and styling hair (even promising a few quick options for those mornings when you are running late). And there is a Learn It about the health benefits of chocolate. (Who knew that chocolate could be considered healthy?!?)
Another option for learning is the Lynda.com database that the library subscribes to. This is a great place to watch professional tutorial videos that are so much better than the YouTube alternatives. Lynda even has certification programs you can list on your resume. Plus, Lynda.com can be accessed from home!
Let’s not forget that there are all the regular (but incredible) materials that most people think about when it comes to libraries—books, movies, CDs, magazines—all of which you can check out! I personally love watching a random documentary about a fascinating subject at the end of a long week. Just last week I learned all about the Wright Brothers’ rival who helped change aeronautics as we know it. Who knew?! The point is, life-long learning is fun—and you can do it at the library!