When you think of the public library, what image comes to your mind? Is it a quiet room filled with shelves, all lined with seemingly endless books waiting to be read? Of course, books have always been the backbone of libraries, but in today’s world, libraries offer so much more than just story time. Libraries give the members of the community a place to come and take classes in which they can learn new skills to enrich their lives.
The types of classes taught at public libraries cover a vast array of topics. Some are practical classes which teach skills to help community members become more employable. Others are focused on arts and crafts or help develop a hobby such as knitting or writing. Some may teach participants about cultures both inside and outside of the United States. Whatever type of class you are interested in, the best part of taking a class at the library is that most of them are free to card-carrying members of the library!
One of the most popular subjects for community classes at the library is learning how to use technology. Many of today’s modern technologies can be intimidating and overwhelming for a beginner to learn. Even for the more technologically literate, some instruction and practice can be useful in learning or polishing a new skill.
Public libraries are a fantastic resource for help with technology. Technology classes are available in a variety of topics, such as learning how to use a specific program like Microsoft Word, using social networks and communication tools, and tips on how to create and post an online resume during a job search. Some libraries even offer IT certification programs!
Another important subject area for community classes is speaking. While it may seem like speaking at a library goes against the hush-hush image a library gives off, many people come to libraries to practice English as a second language. The Seattle public library system, for example, offers ten-week courses on becoming literate in the English language. These classes help immigrants and multi-cultural individuals become better acclimated to life in their communities.
Most people think of the library as a place where you go to exclusively exercise your mind, but at some public libraries there are opportunities to exercise your body as well. For example, the New York City public library system offers several series of exercise classes for adults. These classes range from basic fitness programs to more exotic subjects such as ballet as a form of exercise.
The goal of a library is help members of the community enrich their lives through education. While this goal most often reveals itself in the form of access to the written word, it also means helping people develop themselves through hands on learning experiences in classes. With so many different topics available, classes at the library give community members the opportunity to be lifelong learners.
So what are you waiting for? Whatever your interests are, go check out what classes are available at your local public library and start learning today!