Your Local Library: A Hub of Lifelong Learning

It’s hard to believe, but some people have never set foot in their neighborhood library. Or, the last time they visited was on a field trip in second grade. Or, perhaps you took your child when they were little instead of spending a ton of money on buying books. But if you are interested in lifelong learning, there are few places better to start!

Book clubs–typically, libraries will have a couple of book clubs you can join in on any time. This is a great place to meet new people and have intellectually-stimulating conversations.

Audiobooks

For people who want to learn something new, but hate to read. You can listen while driving in the car, cleaning the house or just and listen to someone read you a book. There are few things more relaxing than that.

Lectures

Listen to visiting authors, local historians and professional educators when they book lectures at your public library. They are usually free to community members, and it gives you a chance to learn things in a way that you normally wouldn’t be able to unless you were taking college courses.

Free Courses

Learn to use a computer, the basics of sign language, even how to write your own memoirs. Libraries usually have a list of courses they will be teaching on their online calendar and on fliers at the checkout desk.

Videos

Figure out how to fix something, learn a new language, discover yoga or qigong, or even get information about a country you are going to visit, all on video or DVD.

Volunteer

Be an adult literacy volunteer, teach English as a Second Language to new immigrants or shelve books and answer the questions that come your way. Teach the computer 101 course, be a homework helper or lead a book club. Public libraries always need volunteers, and it’s a great place to learn while you help others.

Start a Club

If you recently learned the basics of something new and would love to meet with others to discuss the topic, the library will often allow small groups to meet in a conference room for free or very low cost. It’s a good place to hang a flyer too.

Bulletin Board

You can find all types of cool learning opportunities by just looking on your library bulletin board! Many of them are free, low-cost or by donation. And they are right in your own community.

Free Films

Many larger libraries offer film nights. They show all types of films, like old black and whites, documentaries and films for the family.

It’s sad, but libraries in the U.S. are underutilized. Let them be your first port of call in your search of lifelong learning.