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In times gone by, libraries were little more than giant repositories for thousands of books, periodicals, and research tomes. Card catalogs were meticulously organized, and librarians kept a vigilant eye on patrons, to be sure the system remained intact. People of every age, education level, and economic background became equals once they walked through the library door, for the pursuit of great literature knows no bounds. For bibliophiles, walking into a library and filling one’s lungs with the smell of much-loved books can be nothing short of exhilarating.
These days, libraries are still full of printed materials, but modern needs for research and entertainment have caused them to offer additional items and services. Among these are computers, printers, movies, CDs, enhanced research services, job-search help, and community classes. In many communities, the library is a central gathering place for students, an important supplement to education. If you are looking for methods to enhance the education of yourself or your children, check out the following ways you can take advantage of what your library has to offer.
Classes and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, are often viewed as being challenging. Homework may require conducting experiments or building complicated projects, which are sometimes difficult for parents to help their children with. Fortunately, many libraries now offer homework help by personnel who know what they’re talking about. Some facilities have 3D printers, which for a nominal fee can be used to generate results that would be impossible to do at home. For teens, local libraries may offer clubs that supplement the curriculum taught at school.
Classes for Adults
Adults who are entering college or the workforce may need special help to jump-start their career. Many libraries, especially in cities, offer English-as-a-second-language classes, which are very helpful to individuals who are new to the country. In addition, help may be available to students who are studying for a college-entrance exam, such as the SAT or ACT. Furthermore, classes that teach a particular skill, whether for entertainment or education may also be offered. Common subjects may include basic and advanced computer literacy, knitting and quilting, and even yoga.
Classes for Children
Most libraries have special programs just for children. Often held in the section of the library that is devoted to youngsters, these programs are specially tailored to each age group, starting with infants and ending with teens. Early literacy, music and movement, storytelling, and even drama classes may all be found at a local library. The youngest patrons will enjoy attending fun sessions with a parent or caregiver, while older kids may be able to attend on their own. For homeschooling families, frequent visits to the library are an easy way to expand children’s learning opportunities.
Help for Educators
Teachers and other educators may be delighted to learn of the many ways a library can help them. Some libraries offer special access to educators, which allows them to check out more materials at one time than other patrons can. Additionally, teachers may be able to arrange field trips to the library, or ask librarians to visit their school. Special online programs may also be available for educators to use in their school libraries or their classrooms. Helpful librarians such as those who have completed the USC MMLIS degree may be able to offer more ideas to educators.
Movies as Education
Your local library may offer an extensive collection of movies and other DVDs. When used for the purpose of learning, movies can be a useful supplement to education. Subjects such as history and science can come to life and be easier to grasp when viewed on a screen instead of a textbook.
Libraries are a community treasure that families and schools can take advantage of. When used as a supplement to education, the local library can be a valuable resource to adults, children, and educators.