By Ana Kuykendall

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.” Anthony J. D’Angelo

 About thirty-five years ago, everything we knew about learning began to change. Before this point, to research how to write a paper for college, it was imperative to have the latest MLA manual (or at least the version the professor was using.) To learn about any subject from dog care to resume writing, a library card was the key to the World. However, rapidly, with the birth of the internet the local library became seen as less of a resource in our fast-paced, web-based world. Why make a trip down the street to the brick and mortar, when Google holds the answer to everything? From learning how to format a word document, to figuring out the best way to fix a piece of code, Google seems to have all the answers. As we are living in the information revolution, people are sharing more and more of the answers to the questions we need. Because of this overload of information, the local library is thought of as less an epicenter for knowledge and more of a storage house for old media, but before we completely write off the usefulness of the Library in our modern age, let’s take a look at a few ways the public library has made that card a resource of knowledge for the tech and project management fields.

Many library systems, understanding that e-books and audiobooks have become a popular alternative to paper in our fast-paced lives, have partnered with services such as Hoopla and Overdrive to provide more breadth to their now digital card catalogs. Usually, these services take a few minutes to set up by downloading an app or going to a website to enter in Library card information, but they become a wealth of training towards professional goals. In between meetings, listening to an audio book on Agile methodology may help shed some light on a system used throughout many development projects. Also, many times, new releases will show up in these digital formats more quickly and with more copies than their paper counterparts. As each Library system is different, check to see what digital resources are included with your card.

Looking for books to prepare for career at VetsEZ? Check to see if your library has access to any of these (and if they don’t find out how to request them):

  • Agile Project Management for Government – Brian Wernham
  • Learn Amazon Web Services in a Month of Lunches – David Clinton
  • Mastering Microsoft Azure Infrastructure Services – John Savill
  • Java the Complete Reference – Herbert Schildt

Another resource many library systems has embraced is online learning. Thankfully, online learning isn’t just for college courses or helping kids with homework. Online learning sites have spread to career resources, career development, technology skills, and certifications for CEUs, with all of these becoming possible free resources with the magical library card. Lynda.com is one of the sites many library systems have embraced, with learning paths for project management, marketing, web development, application suites, and the list could go on. Learning paths through Lynda may also be eligible for CEU certificates depending on the course. Seeing as the library has already paid for this service, even classes eligible for CEU certifications are of no cost to the card holder. Lynda has classes in many applications and coding languages, so there is always a new tip or trick to learn to help in the tech field. Another site to check out is Udemy, with many programing language classes and bootcamps available, which provides a low-cost way to prepare for exams if not already included with your local library. These are two of many sites and resources for career development and job skills that is possibly available at no charge just for being a library member.

Here are a few Lynda.com courses and learning pathways to consider:

  • Programming Foundations: Databases
  • MongoDB: Security
  • Become a Project Manager (learning pathway)
  • PHP tips, tricks, and Techniques (weekly series)
  • Oracle Java Certification series (course to prepare for Java Certification)

Libraries are growing and changing to meet the needs of their neighbors. Do you know what your local library has to offer? You just might be surprised to see that your library card may help you continue to grow your career, with a price better than any of the ads you will see on your trip down the Google rabbit hole, and it may just help you love your local library again.