Lifelong learning is a phrase I often hear in my profession. It’s a basic belief that you can take advantage of opportunities, formally and informally, and to learn at any age. Lifelong learning is both for professional and personal fulfillment, to improve yourself, your knowledge, and your skills.
Libraries offer the perfect venue for these opportunities. They offer something for every age and try to cover a vast subject area. There are programs for all ages, baby through senior citizen. Check out a book on a topic of interest. Attend a seminar. Learn in a computer class. Play board games. Listen to a Ted Talk. Discuss a hot topic referencing a magazine article.
What I love is that you can do a lot for free! Be part of a book club, knitting club, adult coloring club, and more. Join a writing group, computer class, or a health or exercise club. Sign up for the summer or winter reading initiatives – read, join fun programs, and win prizes. Come for an ESL conversation class or citizenship class. Learn how to cook, start your own home brew, or learn about chocolate of the world. The list is long and it changes as people’s needs change.
Park districts, local colleges, and hospitals are other ways to continue your quest for knowledge, though typically for a small fee. When libraries partner with these (and other) organizations, we bring you the information for free. Perhaps, you have the opportunity to listen to:
- a Walgreens‘ pharmacist talk about Prevnar
- the county attorney address scams and how to avoid them
- an AARP representative give information about Medicare
- a physical therapist to show you strengthening and stretching exercises to manage arthritis.
I believe in lifelong learning. This blog is part of that thirst for knowledge. For every post, I look up information and apply it to what I already know. I speak to colleagues and I listen to people in other fields of work.
Recently, I started up a Go Fund Me campaign to help me on my journey of lifelong learning. There is an international conference coming to the USA for the first time and, perhaps, the last time during my career. I have dreamt of attending this conference for years. I have utilized the IFLA website often because it is full of helpful information and insightful ways of doing things in libraries. Topics have included: libraries in society, library design, serving people with disabilities, serving those with Alzheimer’s, public library design, impact of digital technology, and more.
“The IFLA World Library and Information Congress is the international flagship professional and trade event for the library and information services sector. It brings together over 3,500 participants from more than 120 countries. It sets the international agenda for the profession and offers opportunities for networking and professional development to all delegates. It is an opportunity for the host country to showcase the status of libraries and information science in their country and region as well as to have their professionals experience international librarianship and international relations in a unique way. The congress also offers an international trade exhibition with over 80 exhibitors. The combined buying power of all delegates can be estimated at more than 1.2 billion dollars.”
What librarian wouldn’t want to attend this amazing week-long event? Unfortunately, the state of library funding limits what opportunities we can access. Though this conference is a dream of mine, my salary does not allow me to afford it on my own.
Though it is rare of me, I decided to ask others for help. Take a look at my campaign. Please consider a donation, if you can. If you can’t afford to donate, please share and join me on my lifelong learning journey. Share, if you think others may benefit. I’d appreciate your feedback and ideas. Thank you ahead of time.
Check out your local library for lifelong learning, for fun, for information – to read, to grow, to entertain yourself. Check out a book, a movie, a magazine, an eBook, an audio-book. Attend a program, watch a movie, share your stories, speak to a talented librarian to help you out. I’m proud and amazed at the level of service public libraries offer their communities. If you are one of the people who don’t think the library has anything to offer you, I ask you when was the last time you were in a library? There is something for everyone! It’s why we are here. We are here for you.
~I’m here to help
Tip: Typically colleges gear classes to ages 55 and older for lifelong learning. Those under the age of 55 should look into continuing education. Look for those buzz words when looking up information.
If you want to read a description and history of the terminology lifelong learning, read Wikipedia’s entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lifelong_learning
Edlesonjan, Harriet. 2016. Older Students Learn for the Sake of Learning. New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/02/your-money/older-students-learn-for-the-sake-of-learning.html?_r=0
Medical research has shown that as people age, intellectual stimulation and social interaction promote healthy minds.
Mayberry, Matt. 2015. Why You Should Strive to Be a Lifelong Learner. Entrepreneur. Retrieved from: Why you should strive to be a lifelong learner
Go ahead and challenge yourself today. Commit to expanding your mind, continuing your education and becoming a student of life. Utilize the world as your classroom, and no matter how big or small, always come away with a lesson. Remember to cultivate your mind so it is prepared to expand, blossom and grow. And share your fountain of knowledge. My bet is you will slowly begin to notice you are not only achieving everything you are setting out to accomplish, but you have stimulated a perpetual hunger that drives you for more in both your personal and professional lives.
Young, Scott H. 2012. 15 Steps to Cultivate Lifelong Learning. Life Hack. Retrieved from: 15-steps-to-cultivate-lifelong-learning
Assuming the public school system hasn’t crushed your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.
IFLA wrote about the role libraries play in lifelong learning: The Role of Libraries in Lifelong Learning.
The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of library and information services and their users. It is the global voice of the library and information profession. http://www.ifla.org/about
One book I referenced in school was Donna Gilton’s book written in 2012 Lifelong Learning in Public Libraries.
Lifelong Learning in Public Libraries demonstrates that public librarians can promote learning by combining the elements of Information Literacy Instruction (ILI) with traditional practices of public libraries. This approach contributes to the information enfranchisement of patrons and enhances the fulfillment of the traditional goals and purposes of libraries.
White Oak Library’s mission statement, like many other public libraries, embraces the concept of lifelong learning. http://www.whiteoaklibrary.org/news/60/57/District-Adopts-New-Mission-Statement/d,news_detail
By connecting people to a world of intellectual thought, accurate information, and reliable technology we promote literacy, lifelong learning, and personal success.