Learning Somewhere or Everywhere: Sparking Curiosity and Community!

Wow, it has been a whirlwind of a week, y’all. We got our first sticky snow, which was pretty awesome because this is the first time I’ve lived somewhere it snows! I also started a new job at the public library here. I am beyond excited to get to know my coworkers and community!

A photo of a pumpkin on a front porch dusted with snow.
A photo of my front porch. Is this Fall or Winter?

For my adventure, I chose to walk the paths of Learning Everywhere and Library as Classroom. The two modules show the different ways libraries can help the community, one through reaching outside to give access to the community and one from the inside by bringing the community in to learn. Both are equally important moving into the future.

Learning Everywhere

I am part of the demographic that expects to learn anywhere. If I forget my phone, I am sorely disappointed when I want to look something up. It is natural to me to have the entirety of the Internet at my fingertips, to answer questions or curiosities within minutes of searching. It is the same for many of us. I can muse aloud “I wonder what the etymology of that word is…” and a friend will immediately take out their phone to look it up. Our phones have become an extension of us, of our learning, and we can create our own on-the-fly curricula at any time, anywhere, and learn anything we want. These are usually small pockets of learning, although I have used YouTube, blogs, and MOOCs to learn a variety of skills from my home computer. Oftentimes, I have learned while chatting online with friends because learning anywhere can be isolating and lonely, as many of us may feel in an online program. This is one of the reasons I started an MLIS Discord server for group projects, but still chat with some of my classmates long after the class has ended. Which brings me to the second half of the adventure I chose:

Library as Classroom

Because learning anywhere can be isolating (even if some of us don’t have a choice), the library can bring a group together to learn. The library I work at has 3D printer classes, programming classes, yoga classes, among many other programs that bring people together and complement learning on your own. Not only might these classes spark a curiosity that can drive a person to learn that subject from anywhere, but it can build relationships and community ties and keep people coming back for more learning.

Learning Anywhere and Together!

Learning Anywhere and Library as Classroom go hand in hand, and I believe one can feed into the other. Personally, I have learned yoga on my own, and now want to try learning it in a library classroom (once another session is posted!). Conversely, I have seen 3D printing in action in my library and have found myself learning more about it online! Because information is so pervasive with cell phones, tablets, computers, social media, and games, the library can harness that curiosity and access to information by providing ways for learners of all ages, skill levels, and backgrounds to come together, both online (through databases, online catalogs, and apps) and in the library classroom to spark a greater sense of wonder and love for learning.

My dog, Buddy, learning what snow is! (No audio)

6 comments
  1. Hi Britt,
    Buddy is adorable! I find that with my phone, I’m able to satisfy my curiosities anywhere and everywhere. It’s a fast, portable way to learn and connect with others. Learning comes in so many different forms and my favorite way to learn is by attending library programs such as Makerspace classes.

    1. @christiemhwang Thank you from me and Buddy! Haha. I agree, I love learning in programs, too. It creates a sense of community and is very helpful for making new ties!

  2. I heart Buddy! His coat is super cute too.

    I 100% agree about the two types of learning going hand in hand. They compliment each other well. Perhaps for those in online programs, the chance to meet in a space and do some active learning with others on a different topic or issue would a different type of experience.

    1. @michael I think you’re right. The two experiences are very different, but have some similarities! I have created lifelong friends both online and offline through learning (and video games). I truly enjoy learning in a physical environment and meeting others. It helps to create bonds with people who are already interested in at least one topic you are interested in. I have also made friends in this program due to a shared class and shared experience. I think both experiences are important in this day and age.

  3. As much as it pains me how the world is locked into their devices, I am an active user of my phone to learn as much as I can, and do as much as well. As to how much of that content stays within my memory banks is another issue entirely. However, I believe the tools to help society become more connect (and at times more educated) outweighs the shifting social norms being exhibited by citizens of the world, everyday.

    1. @dandiggity I’m totally with you. I am always learning on my phone, but don’t always commit everything to memory. On the other hand, I sometimes remember the weirdest things I looked up months or even years ago. Nowadays, one of the best skills you can have is the actual looking-up part, and you hone it every time you search for something!

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