Read in Ned: Back to School for Grownups

ncl-logoCeline Cooper, Nederland.  Do you ever wish you could learn a new skill or new language but feel like you don’t have the time or resources? Are you possibly looking for a new vocation but aren’t able to (financially or otherwise) go back to school? We all know the Nederland Community Library has plenty of books and audiobooks on just about every subject you could desire, but did you know that we also have online resources you can access for free with your library card that teach you everything from new languages to graphic design skills?

Through the Nederland Community Library website, you can access both Mango Languages and Lynda.com. Both websites offer a wealth of knowledge and skill building, and are user-friendly and informative. Here’s what you can expect from each website.

Mango Languages offer language learning in fun, and visually pleasing ways with informative text and audio feedback. Once you sign up with the website and your profile is created, Mango tracks your progress as you complete various activities. During the activities, you are instructed on both individual words, as well as complete phrases that are common in that language. Mango breaks down the word or phrase and gives simple but comprehensive explanations about the grammatical roots and pronunciations of the words themselves.

What I like about Mango is that you can customize your language learning experience. For example, while I am not a beginning Spanish speaker, I enjoy searching specialized topics on Mango such as Spanish for Librarians (how cool is that!?) to brush up on specific vocabulary and conversational topics. If I wanted to learn French, however, I could choose from learning basic conversational skills, to “wine and cheese” vocabulary, to “romance” as specific areas of focus. If you have tried to learn another language before, you know that the key to fluency is keeping up with learning and speaking whenever you can. With Mango, you receive friendly email reminders about keeping up with your practice, and where your progress stands. Using Mango is a fun, non-threatening and informative experience to learn or brush up on languages whether for travel, business or simply the joy of exercising your brain.

Another skill-building site is Lynda.com, which has thousands of video tutorials teaching skills from fields like graphic design, social media for small businesses, accounting, music composition and many others. With your library card, access to all of these resources is free. The Lynda.com website is easy to navigate and access, and has enough diverse topics and videos to keep your brain sharp and engaged. Don’t have time to watch a whole video? Simply add it to your playlist and watch it later. Each video is also rated for the skill level it is most appropriate for from beginner to advanced, and ‘appropriate for all’. With Lynda.com, you can also engage in different “learning paths” where videos are customized for areas of interest such as Business, Design, Photography, 3D+Animation, and many more. Each video also offers a transcript that the viewer can read along with. This helps accommodate different learning styles and abilities.

To access these amazing, free resources, simply visit our website: nederland.colibraries.org and click on the top banner. From there you will be redirected to the page with both the Mango and Lynda.com logos that you can then click on, and set up profiles for.  With students going back to school this time of year, why not do the same for yourself? If you have any questions about how to access the websites, the NCL staff are always happy to help. Happy learning!

Celine Cooper is the Youth Services Coordinator at the Nederland Community Library. To honor the 100th anniversary of the Pulitzer Prize, the Nederland Community Library will participate in “The American West as Living Space” program which will allow participants to read selections from authors Gary Snyder, Annie Proulx, Wallace Stegner, Louise Erdrich, Robert Haas and Kay Ryan, all recipients of the coveted award. Discussion of the works will be facilitated by historian Dr. Derek Everett and the group will meet on Thursdays, September 8th, 15th and 22nd at 7 p.m. You can sign up at the library or by contacting us at 258-1101.