Back to School Means Independent Learning Too
Back to school time is here, which means new school supplies, a new routine, and the excitement and challenges of a new school year.
Back to school season should also be a return to independent learning, with the help of your local library.
Libraries offer an abundance of programs and resources for kids (and adults) who do well learning on their own. Librarians can help guide patrons to resources that best suit their needs and interests, and challenge independent-minded learners.
Here are 11 ways libraries encourage and support independent learning during back to school season and beyond.
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1. Maker Spaces
Maker spaces, which often have 3D printers, circuit boards, computer aided design (CAD) tools, printing equipment and more, are an independent learners jackpot. These spaces provide resources and assistance designing and building any number of tools, toys, prototypes, artistic creations and more.
2. Topic Deep Dives
If your independent learner wants to know everything about a topic, the local library is a powerful tool. From books and multi-media to academic papers and help locating quality information online, libraries support independent learners in following their interests as far as they want to take them.
3. Extended Curriculum
Some libraries partner with local schools to provide extended curriculum aligned with what students are learning about in the classroom. For kids interested in learning more about particular areas of interest, these library programs which let them work at their own pace, can be incredibly valuable.
4. Information Literacy
The internet provides an overload of information about everything under the sun, but, as every good librarian knows, it’s important to get the right information. Libraries can instill information literacy skills in independent learners so they can take in information that’s not only interesting, but accurate.
5. Scholarship Research
If your independent learner is heading off to college, libraries can help lighten the financial load by providing scholarship research assistance. This way, independent learners can find and apply for all the scholarships and financial support they qualify for.
6. Employment and Career Assistance
Finding your first job as a teenager is sometimes a scary process. From finding available jobs to submitting an online applications, libraries — and librarians — are a valuable resources for teen job seekers. Whether it’s your first job or your first idea for your own business, see how libraries can help you.
7. Young Children’s Programming
We’re all independent learners as toddlers, aren’t we? Libraries recognize the importance of stimulating brain development and social connection through programming and education. From the welcoming children’s area of the library through community arts and culture events, and even parenting classes, libraries offer a wealth of resources for independent learners of all ages — starting with the very young.
8. Digital Offerings
No longer just homes for books, libraries have reinvented themselves for the 21st century. Libraries today still provide access to books and multi-media, and they also provide countless digital offerings, including music, films, ebooks, audiobooks and much more. These digital offerings can be an independent learner’s best friend as they enable people to access materials and information from anywhere.
9. ESL Offerings
If English is a second language for your independent learner, libraries have you covered. From books to multi-media and digital offerings, libraries recognize the need for non-English books, ESL books and culturally sensitive offerings, as well.
10. School ID Library Cards
Some children, including independent learners, never get a library card because their parents don’t, or can’t, get one either. Many libraries offer students library cards with a school ID only. In some places, the school ID is the library card, but not everyone knows it. When school IDs serve as public library cards, kids, including independent learners, get immediate access to all that libraries offer and start down the road of being a lifelong learner.
11. Book Discussions and One Book, One Community Events
Libraries have long hosted book clubs to bring community members together to discuss a particular book. One Book, One Community events invite community members and the local school district to read the same book then attend author visits and other library events to discuss what they’ve read and connect with other community members.
Back to school is a great time to revisit your local library to see how it can support your independent learner. If you haven’t been to the library in awhile, you might be surprised at what you find.