It’s no secret that I’m the youngest Don Wood Foundation staff member. I have the unique opportunity to work with fantastic individuals with years of knowledge. I’m constantly reminding myself that I’ve got a lot to learn. Luckily, the Don Wood Foundation supports personal and professional learning opportunities. Reflecting on how much I have grown in my job and how much lifelong learning has changed in the past few years, I am reminded of my board service at my local library. The ways we learn have changed significantly, which is similar to how libraries are changing to offer compelling services for their patrons. The staff at DWF is like a community of learners centered around the community impact we have. Similarly, an effective library can be a community hub supporting an effective local learner’s community.
As a board member of the Peabody Public Library, I can see the shift that learning has taken over the years. A library is no longer just books on a shelf but provides access to online resources, knowledgeable people, and things. Most libraries include a Library of Things. This is a special section of the library where you can check out physical things like baking sheets, pressure cookers, hedge trimmers, crafting supplies, and workshop tools. Other items like movies, toys, music, games, etc., are also parts of a modern library where the library will share access and patrons can borrow items across multiple library systems. Many library branches have a collection of these and other items available to borrow that you can listen to, watch, use, learn new skills, or play with at home.
Want to learn a skill, and online videos aren’t cutting it? Libraries have free or low-cost clubs and classes that are open to the public to learn and gather. Are you stuck at home with a sick child? Use the endless online catalog with access to new movies, shows, music, eBooks, audiobooks, and games. The library provides access to it all! This is the natural evolution of learning or a natural extension of what has occurred in the past.
I am learning from personal experiences, learning from outside resources, and learning from my team. Their skills and talents pour into my curiosity. I’m not so quietly listening and googling, checking out audiobooks for my commute time. I understand and celebrate that learning takes many forms and constantly changes. It doesn’t look like it did even a decade ago, nor can we expect it to stay like it is now. So, whatever engages you the most, speaks to your learning style, and sticks with you, that is how you should learn. And if you don’t already have one, please, please, please, get a library card!
Carmen Bross is the Project Associate for the Don Wood Foundation and proudly serves on the board of the Peabody Library in Columbia City, Indiana.
Aligning Opportunities Between Students, Community, and Industry
Don Wood Foundation
P.O. Box 25537
10315 Dupont Circle Drive West
Fort Wayne, IN 46825
*By Appointment Only*