By Danielle Schapaugh, Public Relations Coordinator
Wikipedia tells me that lifelong learning is the “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons.” To me, it means becoming your own teacher, which I think is a wonderful and worthy thing to do.
But why would a person subject herself to teaching and learning after schooling is finished? Doesn’t “finishing” mean that you don’t have to read, write, or do arithmetic anymore?
Absolutely not! Even if you haven’t made a concentrated effort to bring learning into your life, you’ve been learning every day. You’ve made new discoveries and found new topics to excite your senses.
Learning is a vital part of being human; that’s why we aren’t born knowing how to do everything. So why not be proactive and teach yourself something that’s always piqued your curiosity? Also, the National Institute on Aging sites “engaging in social and intellectually stimulating activities” as an important part of preventing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Plus, it feels really good to learn!
So, now that you’ve decided to try something new, the first thing you have to do is pick a subject. Have you always wanted to paint, make fire with sticks, or speak French? Start with something exciting and see where it leads you.
Next, it’s time to visit the library. You will find resources to study, as well as information about classes offered by local organizations, like UFM and the Manhattan Arts Center, and clubs and groups you can join.
But what if you can’t pick a topic or aren’t familiar with the library’s resources? Just talk to a librarian: we can help point you in the right direction. You can even get a customized list of titles to explore, on any subject you can imagine, with our reader’s advisory service.
Now here’s a secret weapon you might not have considered: the children’s library. When I’m looking for something completely new, I start there because some of the very specialized research material can be a little dry and intimidating. I don’t necessarily want to read an esoteric paper about cumulonimbus clouds; I just want to know more about the weather. So, I slyly pretend I’m gathering books for children I don’t have and get an armful of fun subjects to explore.
Visiting the library is like building your brain muscles. No one ever says “I wish I hadn’t learned how to _______,” so spend a few minutes daydreaming about new subjects, then take the first steps to becoming your own teacher.
The library is also hosting a trial of the digital service Lynda.com from September 17-27, which offers thousands of video courses on topics ranging from Managing Stress to Responsive Web Design that you can explore on your own. To participate in the trial, call the library at 776-4741 ext. 120 and make an appointment.
There’s a whole world of ready information within your reach!