When I got my library card, that’s when my life began.
–Rita Mae Brown
For many of us, lifelong learning is a desire that never goes away: to add to the knowledge that we have accrued or to simply try something new for fun – like photography, or website design. Continuous learning and education should be accessible to everyone. However, these activities often come with price tags that have as big of a range as the educational institutions that offer these courses.
Despite this, you may be surprised to learn that many courses can be accessed free through your local library. Online learning platforms have made continual learning much more accessible and, best of all, free with your library card! There are so many databases and resources available online now that let you learn at your own pace and at on your own schedule.
Online Courses Available Through Your Local Library
LinkedIn Learning (previously known as Lynda.com) is a website offering video courses taught by industry experts in software, creative, and business skills. Founded in 1995 by Lynda Weinman, this website helps anyone learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. You can access this through many Lower Mainland libraries, including the Fraser Valley Regional Library.
Road to IELTS is a comprehensive online preparation course developed by the British Council. The program includes more than 300 interactive activities with instant feedback, plus video tutorials and mock papers. This program is for English language learners preparing for the IELTS exam, or simply interested in practising their reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. Access to this program can be found at many libraries including the Burnaby Public Library.
Mango Languages is an online language learning service that includes over 70 languages for English speakers and English language courses for speakers of 18 other languages. From Spanish to Swahili, English to Icelandic, and Shakespeare to Pirate, Mango has virtually everyone’s language and culture curiosities covered. With Mango, you don’t have to choose between learning how to say the Spanish, “estoy aprendiendo español,” or the Croatian, “učim hrvatski.” You can access Mango at the North Vancouver District Public Library and other libraries across Metro Vancouver.
MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) are freely accessible and open-licensed short courses, delivered to large cohorts of learners fully online. There is a broad range of subject areas that usually run two to three times per year. These courses are lead by academics and supported by their teaching assistants. They are self-directed meaning you follow the course materials, complete the readings and assessments, and get help from a large community of fellow learners through online forums. The North Vancouver City Library and other libraries offer a number of options for you to consider.
ArtistWorks for Libraries provides patrons with world-class instruction through self-paced video lessons from Grammy Award-winning music and artistic professionals. ArtistWorks for Libraries offers users everything they need for musical and artistic instruction, from introduction to advanced performance. Beginner to advanced music instruction for the most popular string and band instruments and art and voice classes available 24/7. Access to ArtistWorks for Libraries can be found through your Bowan Island Public Library.
Learn something new with 360+ instructor-led, online classes. Gale Courses supports libraries as educational institutions and gives community members easy access to lifelong learning opportunities including professional development, technology, and personal enrichment courses. Access can be found through libraries such as Surrey Public Libraries.
There’s Never Been a Better Time to Learn Something New
Accessing free education and training has never been easier through your local library. The above-mentioned resources are just a small sample of what is available to you with your library card. Have a look through your own library website to find out what is available to you, or simply drop in and talk to a librarian. There is so much more to your library than you know. Happy learning!