I had the opportunity to observe my teenage granddaughter studying last week. With her wireless earphones, loud music and her computer spread open on her bed, I cringed. She’s an A student. There is no wrong way to learn. In fact, by being more aware of how you learn, you develop new interests and pick up skills faster.
Much learning in life is informal – opportunistic and strictly under the control of the learner. Informal learning can happen anywhere. Libraries are a portal to a world of learning that includes the full spectrum of knowledge opportunities, including: traditional books, digital resources, online environments, community conversations, gardens, parks, formal and informal programs, and more. And, libraries cater to all learning styles – visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social and solitary. Here’s how we address each of these:
Movie Nights, art exhibits and YouTube. Libraries accommodate old and young with such visual attractions as documentaries and other movies. We have art exhibits that highlight local talent. We provide access to YouTube, which is used for how-to guides, recipes, music videos and more. Groove ‘N Grow, ukulele and dulcimer checkout, monthly community acoustic jam. Our preschoolers get to enjoy music, dance and play instruments while older children and adults have access to ukuleles and dulcimers. Community members get together to create and play music.Lectures, author presentations and other programs. Our verbal patrons love to learn through our lectures and author presentations, Spanish conversation hour and digital learning classes.Arts programs, park and garden, yoga, and pickleball. Get physical! Get a workout with our regular yoga classes, dig in one of our garden beds or play pickleball or basketball in our park. Join crafternoons, a watercolor class or make pottery. Learn to cook! Code Club, Math Club, 3D printer. Feed your logical-learning needs by creating a new prototype on our 3D printer. Teens make their own games, animations and websites in Code Club, or bring your grade school child to have fun with math. Join the maker movement as we work to support STEAM education by offering spaces and equipment where users can learn as they create. Living Room Conversations, Conscious Elder Wisdom Circles, Death Cafe and Friends of the Library. Enjoy some social time discussing issues of the day; share your knowledge, insight and wisdom in our Conscious Elder program; join a group that discusses issues relating to death with a view to helping people make the most of their lives. Become a Friend!Sit by the fireplace, reserve a study room or log on to our public computers. Spend some solitary time reading, thinking, and relaxing away from the craziness of our lives. Use our computers to research and learn about new things. Use one of our study rooms to focus on your research.
Learning is an extremely important and personal experience for people of all ages. Years ago, there was an assumption that everyone learned the same way. Come to your library and learn your way.
Shelley Walchak is director of Pine River Library.