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The Library and Learning Potential Experiment

"You can get the equivalent of a college education in a particular subject area if you utilize the library for an entire year." -Kiarra

I have said this phrase to people who do not feel that the library can play a major part in a person's success in the area of finances, health, spiritual enhancement and mental development. The library is not an orphanage for books wearing dusty veils nor is it an irrelevant institution that is "behind the times." It is more like a living tool that can be used to reach one's peak development.

But how can you measure that self-educating yourself in a library can translate into certification or a degree? I pondered on this and decided to do an experiment. My primary choice would be to select a subject that I know either little or nothing about and measure it through testing. As serendipity would have it, however, I met a woman at my job who was in Digital Services. I commented during our conversation that I wish that our library's Gale courses had more courses. I also mentioned that I desired for the courses to have some sort of certification. Her response opened up a second option for me and expanded my awareness of all of the online learning opportunities libraries possess. She said that our library recently added even more classes to the Gale Courses and that I could attain a "Certificate of Completion" from the course. The certificate could be listed on my resume.

This sparked my search for ways to gain knowledge and document it without spending a dime. I applied for Seattle Public Library's online learning system titled Your Next Skill. When visit their website you type in the subject you wish to learn and the level and length of time at which you wish to learn about your chosen subject. Within a week, a librarian will put together a small curriculum of books on the topic. If you choose, you can also have them to give you links to videos on the topic and online resources. I have already chosen alchemy and sign language. It is very neat.

On my search, I also found a site called Universal Class which costs, unless you have a library or organization that will allow you to use it for free. I am currently using the Saint Louis County Library's site to use Universal Class. You have the option of earning a CEU (Continuing Education Unit) which is IACET (International Association for Continuing Education and Training). One CEU equals 10 contact hours. The IACET's website contains a list of places that will accept an IACET CEU. You can also place this on your resume as well.

Because I wish to see if this experiment will be proven successful within a year's time, I will focus on different subjects and attempt to master them within 365 days. I will keep track of my progress and see if the subjects I have selected will aid me in career or social advancement in any way. This will also showcase the power contained in libraries that so many people have no tapped into, a power that is not obsolete.

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