When the kids graduate high school or just leave formal schooling, what is the most important resource that they will leverage to continue learning about…well, anything? Beyond their peers who also are searching for answers, what is the first go-to resource for young adults to begin the lifelong journey of shaping their very own, wonderful and fulfilling lives?
Think about that.
Is their favorite resource the vast and utterly unwieldy Internet? Quite possibly. That tack will take them to volumes and volumes of information to read and dozens and dozens of videos providing demonstrations of everything from building a garage (I found over 150 videos on YouTube alone) to starting a business (2,400,000,000 results in less than a second) to starting a family (2,340,000,000 and even faster at .6 seconds).
If young adults are only looking at doing something generic that many people do, they’d better know how to enter excellent search terms and then how to narrow down the search to a manageable number of useful results that serve their purposes. If they are interested in pursuing either their immediate and undoubtedly shifting interests along with those biggies above, they need more than that.
Perhaps all young adults should exit formal education with a clear sense of their own interests and purposes. Classrooms are great places to discover other people’s interests and purposes.Dedicated teachers in love with their poetry, the world’s life forms, the vastness of the social studies, or generally useful mathematics concepts absolutely will have ideas for advanced learning in their subject areas. For teens who are presented literally with a world of possibilities, however, it seems that exploration, the turning over of interesting rocks and engaging with interesting people from all walks of life would be the ultimate resources.
But who guides students to that kind of all-encompassing realm of possibilities? The library is the place. The librarian is the person.
While libraries as institutions hold something related to just about everything, it is the librarians who must home in on and make recommendations about that enormous array of possibilities which is different for each student. A school librarian may coordinate a bit with classroom requirements, but ultimately it comes down to teaching hormonally charged big kids how to embrace the library as a lifelong, ultimate and available resource in their back yards (much like the internet access on their back pockets).
The learning space beyond school, presented by the Internet and the library presents an enormous chasm. The Internet is too often well-disguised, self-promoting and always chaotic. A lot of so-called “information” found on the faceless Internet is pretty much catch as catch can. On the other hand, libraries are filled with carefully vetted, curated, organized and readily available print, multi-media and reliable sources. But the true value of a library’s resources comes from their being presented by a fellow human being not just displaying possibilities on a screen, but teaching learners of any age ultimately to love creating and pursuing their very own agendas.
Visit a library near you today and enjoy the wonders of your personal discoveries!