Studying at the Library 101

So, you’re a freshman in college and your dorm is sometimes too noisy to study in or you need a different place with fewer distractions, or you just want to kill some time between classes – come to our learning center, our door is always open! Or, even if you’re not a freshman, but still need a place to study or work, we’re happy to accommodate you. In this post, I want to talk about the long days and nights you spend at the library studying and how to make them more comfortable.

Studying for finals can be very stressful. Some days you’re feeling good and pretty capable of comprehending the material, grasping the most important ideas, and sticking to your studying schedule, if you make one. But, other days you’re unmotivated, drowsy, slouchy, grumpy, and basically can’t even tie your own shoes. Don’t worry, we get you. Many students feel like this, and the best thing you can do on those days is to keep going. Unless you feel like you could really use taking the day off!

Our library has four study rooms to choose from, each one decorated differently, and, in addition, there is a common lounge area where you can get a coffee, something to eat, or some snacks. You can spend your lunch or coffee break here, or you can go around the corner to the near-by coffee shops if you want to get some air.

One of the most important things is to bring everything you need just for that day. Don’t bring any additional textbooks with you if you’re not planning to use them that day. You’re stressed as it is, so you don’t need to put any more pressure on yourself by bringing additional material. If you want to bring something to read for fun on your break, then that’s okay.

Have a watch like these on you at all times. When you’re studying hard, time flies by. You may forget to eat, for example, and snap out of it only when you notice that you’re actually starving and mentally exhausted. Or, even if you’re impatient and can’t wait until your lunch break, you’ll still need to know the time.

I would also recommend wearing something comfortable and always have a spare hoodie for the days when it’s chilly outside. Since you’re gonna be spending long hours here, the temperature may vary and if you’re too hot or too cold, you won’t be comfortable, and that, in turn, will affect your concentration.

So, get that backpack ready, and I’ll see you at the Alderville Learning Centre and Library!

Winter is Coming

Winter is coming and you have to take appropriate precautions. You need antifreeze in the car, chains for your tires and a way to prevent your pipes from bursting. Most of us who live in snow and sleet areas know the drill, but many forget one key task: the water heater. Yes, it can freeze so it must be winterized like everything else according to this guide: This is essential for the old tank models. In my community, there are classes for the residents who want to learn the ropes and prevent inevitable damage once the temperature drops. The Learning Centre and Library in my town of Alderville offers the most comprehensive version. They have saved many families from the consequences of neglect.

Now seems an appropriate time to taut the Learning Centre where I spend considerable time. It is a great place with a full-scale library. You can find any information you need or use its photocopying and printing services. Locals attest to the great ESL courses and convenient GED testing. It is an important resource in the community as one of the best employers. You will surely meet a friend or neighbor any day of the week. I love my job and am here to encourage more Alderville denizens to come see what the centre has to offer.

In fact, we are going to produce a pamphlet on winterizing your home. There will be a paragraph devoted to water heaters since everyone has one in their home. Don’t let this simple procedure cause you grief once winter has set in. And you don’t need to hire a pro for the job. The instructions vary according to your type of unit: gas or electric. Of course, a gas water heater must be shut off at the valve. As a homeowner, you should know its location. Then an electric model requires shut off at the breaker. Show both locations to other members of the family should you be absent in the future.

Now it is a matter of draining the water by opening the faucet or fixture. You will first turn off the water system which is usually done outside. Draining requires opening the sillcock (valve with handles) and letting gravity do its job. While anyone can perform this task, if you want to blow out any residual water, you will have to attach a compressor, the same device you would use to winterize your sprinkler system.

As you use the compressor, you may notice a lack of pressure. This indicates a broker pipe or open valve somewhere in the house. It may be time to call the plumber at this point. Certainly, this won’t happen every winter so once your pipes are in good working order, you are set for some time. This is a good way to find out before it is too late.

You are almost finished. The compressor fills the system with air and the water heater can now drain with safety. Pressurized air pushes the remaining water out as it enters the cold water line. If the draining fluid is hot, be careful to let it cool before continuing.  And there you have it!

Budget Friendly Library Resources

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, your library is actually a great way to save some extra money or fill in the gaps in your entertainment budget. You just have to know what’s out there and how to access it! Don’t believe me? Read on and see what I mean.

First, you’re probably aware that libraries have books. But that’s not the only thing you can borrow. Are you considering the purchase of an ereader but don’t know if you’ll like it? Some libraries have ereader programs where you can not just check out ebooks but you can borrow the reader, too. It is a great way to give it a try without the financial commitment. You also don’t need magazine or newspaper subscriptions – your library has those, too. Some even have digital copies, so you can read them online and you don’t even have to leave the house. All the convenience of a subscription and none of the out-of-pocket expenses! And if you’re not a big reader, you might be happy to know that most libraries offer music and dvds, too! Don’t rent movies, just come by and borrow one of ours!

And what if you’ve gone to your local library and didn’t see the book or movie that you wanted? Did you know that most libraries will even get books for you that they don’t have? That’s right, there’s a library exchange and you might be able to get a book you want to read from other libraries in the area! You order the material, and it will be delivered to your local library. All you have to do is pick it up when it arrives. Some libraries even have libraries-through-the-mail to reach those who don’t have the ability, either through illness or accessibility issues, to come to the library in person.

If you don’t use the internet all that often or it isn’t available where you live, you can come use the library’s internet for free – either through one of the free library computers that are available or through wifi. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather hang out at my local library or learning centre than at a crowded coffee house if I want to get some work done. Same goes for faxing, copying, and printing — some libraries even have 3D printing now. You can save a lot of money on ink, toner, and the cost of the machine by just doing it all at your library instead.

Lots of libraries, especially the larger ones, offer courses and story times. The services benefit the community and range from things like genealogy research to legal advice to learning other languages. Others have tutors, job resources, or online courses you can access for free. Imagine being able to learn coding from the comfort of your own home, on your own time, and for free!

Now that I’ve got you interested in all that you can do at your local library for free, or for a much smaller fee than you would pay on your own, I’m sure you’re motivated to go check out what your own library has to offer. Enjoy!

Use Your Library to Find Your Next Job

We do a lot of great things here at the Learning Centre. One of the most important things, I think, is having job resources for people. Job hunting is hard, and there is a lot you might be doing wrong without even realizing it. If you’re unemployed but looking for a job, I highly recommend you check out what your local centre has available to help—you might be pleasantly surprised at all the help you will receive.

Depending on the job you’re looking for, there may be trade magazines or niche websites that will have the best positions open. At almost any library or learning centre, you can browse periodicals to look for jobs. You can also use the library’s computers if you don’t have your own or lack internet to search online. It can be intimidating to go through all those sources, but some places have trained staff to help you sort through and find the things you really want or are qualified for. A learning centre like mine, which services an area that has a significant Native population, may have information on specific jobs that require language or translating skills, or provide access to job training programs for those who qualify.

Once you’ve found a place you want to work, you will likely need a resume. Again, your local library can probably help out. Most have computers, printers, and fax machines that you can use to get your resume out there. And for those of you who need to do some serious updating to their resume or have never written one before, some have classes that will teach you how to write the perfect resume. Other locations will let you schedule an appointment to have someone review an existing resume and help you make the best of what you’ve got. Believe it or not, there are lots of companies that will do this as well, but most of them charge you quite a bit – so it is in your best interest to pay your local library or learning centre a visit to see what they’ve got!

Okay, after your resume has been sent out, the next step is likely going to be some kind of interview, either over the phone if it is far away or in person. Libraries and learning centres sometimes have professionals who are experienced in human resources to do mock interviews with you, and others have might have company information available so you can research who is important there and what the company is doing. The more you know and practice, the more confident you’ll feel at the interview, making it even more likely that you’ll get the job you want.

These are just a few examples of generally available resources for job hunters. Your local community or learning centre as well as your local library may have other information or services available. The only way you’ll know is if you go there and ask.

Good luck on the job hunt, and if you use any services, let me know in the comments!

Nice Day at the Library

There are a lot of courses and information available here at the Learning Centre. My favorite thing we offer at the library, though, is the children’s story time. I know most people think of libraries as quiet places with serious books and studious people hunched over desks and reading. But setting aside a place for children to learn how to read and inspire them to love reading is amazing. Having kids visit is always a highlight of my day.

A good library knows that it needs to meet the needs of its community. And children are part of the community, aren’t they? Two reasons it is beneficial to include children are because you want families to feel welcome by providing children’s books and a safe place for the kids to spend time, and also because kids who use the library at a young age turn into lifelong readers and library patrons.

While a lot of our services cater to adults, providing job resources and the like, we do have some great things for the children. The aforementioned story time, which we do weekly, is for kids ages six and under. It always brings a crowd, which is great here on a weekday morning! There were a quite a few kids today with their parents, which made reading the story a bit of a challenge, volume-wise.

Afterward, we lead them in a craft that went with the story – it was about animals, so we had paper plates and all kinds of odds and ends for them to decorate the plates to make animal masks. Once the kids were done, we had them act out their favorite parts of the story. It eventually turned into a performance of the book several times. I think I know the whole thing by heart now.

We have over 200 books here for the kids and many took a few home with them, too. There were even a few empty shelves once the last item had been checked out and the kids went home. I couldn’t tell who was who at that point because they all still had their masks on. The kids seemed like they had a great time. The parents looked relieved that their kids were so interested and well behaved. I think it was probably because the book was so fun and they all really liked doing the craft. Or at least, I think they did because the children’s area was a huge wreck when they all left.

I got to clean it all up. It wasn’t as bad as it sounds, I put on some music and put my headphones in. First, I salvaged anything that could be reused for a different activity. Boy, kids can destroy glue sticks in a super short amount of time! I also think I’m going to talk to my boss about reconsidering stocking feathers and glitter, because that was by far the hardest items to clean up.

A Fitting Job

I’ve always liked helping people. It makes me feel really good. When I was little, I told my parents that I wanted to be Santa, but they told me the job had already been filled. I just liked bringing people joy and seeing them feel good about themselves.

When it came time for me to find a “real” job, I wanted something that gave me the same kind of feeling. That I was making a difference, that I was helping people and doing something for them that would make them happy. I worked in retail for a while, and that was not a good fit. My boss moved me over to customer service, because I said that I really wanted to be able to work with the customers and not just ring them up. Most of the people I dealt with were already angry, usually about something that was both out of my control and not because of something that I had done in the first place. While I understood their frustration, it was hard not to take it personally. It was also hard to get up every day and go in to work. The day I quit, I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t realize just how much working a job I hated affected me until the moment I realized I didn’t have to go there anymore.

I needed a new job and I didn’t have the slightest idea where to look. My mom recommended that I try out the Learning Centre to see what resources they had available – she had heard that they might be able to assist with job placements and resumes. When you’re unemployed, you certainly have enough free time, and I figured I would not be wasting my day any more than I would sitting in front of the TV, so I went in.

Boy was she right – they had all kinds of stuff to help me find a job. I was explaining to the woman who was helping me what I was looking for and she finally said to me: “You know what? I think I have the perfect job for you.” She then handed me an application. It took me a minute to realize that she was talking about working there, for her!

I asked her a few questions about what I would need to do and told her about the qualifications I had. She told me that I would be a pretty good fit, and in fact had already aced my job interview! That was great, because I was not aware at the time that I was even on one. I filled out my application and she said that she would contact me in the next couple of days.

I’ve been here ever since. I help people just like I wanted to when I was younger, and most people are way happier than the ones I encountered at my old job. It’s been a great experience and I leave work every day happy that I’ve gone in.

Keep Learning

I think learning is a process that you never outgrow and you are never done with. For a while after I finished with school, I felt like my brain got kind of turned to mush. My job wasn’t all that challenging, and I barely even cracked open a book or watched the news. I did practically nothing. I think I forgot most of the things I used to know. I started to bore even myself. I needed a change. I started watching the news in the morning as I was eating breakfast, and reading a bit more. Then I started spending time at the learning centre and it is like the whole world opened up to me. A day that I don’t learn anything is a day I’ve wasted, is how I feel now. It gives me motivation to try something, read something, or talk to somebody I might never have before. Luckily where I work, that is pretty easy. I’m never short reading materials or people to chat with here!

Even on my busy days, I try to make it a point to learn something. I’m not picky. It could be anything, from a simple piece of trivia to something I learn about myself. For example, last week, I watched a video to learn how to trouble shoot my constantly-running toilet. I ended up fixing it all by myself! That was pretty cool. Another example that didn’t go quite so well: my mom gave me an old family recipe a while back and I decided to try it for dinner last night. Rather disappointingly, I learned that I’m not that great at cooking — even when following a recipe. That was a bit of a blow to the old ego, for sure. And today, I learned something new about how to use my computer thanks to a course we offered at the Learning Centre. So, not everything I learn is earth-shattering in its importance, but I think it helps me become a more well-rounded and interesting person.

The world we live in nowadays has information just about everywhere you look. 24-hour news stations, websites, various publications, and through simply interacting on social media. Things that used to take forever might only take a few second to find out. All you have to do is invest a little bit of time, and you might walk away with some new knowledge or a new skill. If nothing else, you have something you can talk about around the dinner table or on a date or something. I think it will probably make writing (and reading) this blog a little more interesting as well – lucky for you, huh?

Is there something that you’d like to learn more about? How do you plan on going about it?