Speaking Volumes: Lifelong learning is key part of library's mission

Special to the HeraldMarch 30, 2014 

"Nurture imagination, promote lifelong learning and enrich the community." This is the stated mission of the Manatee County Libraries. Our resources make the goal of lifelong learning a possibility for everyone and, best of all, it's FREE! Your library card is your passport to learning just about anything and in almost any format that works best for you whether it's a regular book, an audiobook, a DVD, or an electronic database you can access at any Manatee County Public Library or from the comfort of your home.

LearningExpress Library is a versatile electronic database where you can educate yourself on a wide variety of subjects. Simply go the Library's website: www.mymanatee.org/library , click on the "Research & Learning" box, click on the "Search by Title" link, and select the LearningExpress Library link. You'll need your library card barcode and 4 digit PIN if you are accessing the database remotely. Improve your academic skills from elementary school through college level. Learn computer and Internet basics, as well as popular software including Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access, and more! Brush up on workplace skills, study for occupational tests/certification, improve your reading, writing, and math skills in the "Skill Building for Adults" section and even learn about public speaking and personal finance!

LearnSurge is a new database of free webinars on such subjects as eBooks for beginners, creating your own eBook, the ABC's of small business ownership and promotion, and an introduction to social media. Check back for more courses to be added in the future.

You can learn popular foreign languages on the Mango Languages database. Speakers of English as a second language might consider participating in the "ESOL Conversation Club," offered at several of the libraries. If you prefer, the library also has audiobooks on CD, as well as regular books for learning foreign languages.

Wikipedia is not the only place to learn about various subjects! The Gale Virtual Reference Library is a full-text database of reference books and specialized reference sources for research in such fields as the arts, biography, history, religion, literature, science, social science and more.

You may be aware that you can borrow movies

on DVD at the library, but did you know that there are many nonfiction DVDs on a wide range of topics? Find DVDs on art history, biographies, history, travel, dance, and much more!

Did you know that your library card may also be used in Sarasota County Public Libraries as well as the State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota? Don't forget that you can also request books that the Library doesn't own through the InterLibrary Loan program. Learn details about this program under the "Research & Learning" link on the Library's website.

The Library System also is offering more and more programs designed to inform and educate. Upcoming programs include computer classes, book discussion groups, lectures, and more. Go to the Library's to access the online monthly "Calendar of Events." Printed copies of this calendar are also available at the libraries.

The library offers monthly e-mail newsletters, called NextReads, with a selection of genres to choose from; each lists several books, new and classics, as well as library events. Sign up from the library website.

Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday. Access the library online at www.mymanatee.org/library.html. Fran Barba is a reference librarian in the Manatee County Public Library System.

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