‘Back to School’ at the library

The definition of a school is a place or institution for teaching and learning. The definition of a library is a building or room with books and other materials for people to read or checkout, or at least it was. As libraries continue to transform to meet the needs and wishes of its patrons, the differing definitions no longer apply and the library is now also a place for teaching and learning. The Ignacio Community Library provides a variety of ways for student patrons (of all ages) to learn many subjects and skills, from basic computer usage to building your own computer, from creating simple video slideshow to advanced movie making using stop motion animation techniques, and from learning to make a simple electronic circuit to building advanced robots — to name a few examples. Your local library can assist you on your educational journey with resources, equipment, practice, and experience. 

     In a makerspace we pick a project, start work on that project and then learn along the way. Adley loves taking electronic devices apart. Deconstruction (taking things apart) is actually a great way to learn how items are put together. We learn about different types of materials and design and mechanical ideas are contemplated as the next step is decided. We learn new vocabulary (such as “contemplated”) as we discuss techniques. We learn fine motor skills and how to properly and safely handle tools. We learn responsibility and consequences as difficulties arise and we work through them. Sometimes we learn the history or background actions concerning the subject. And most importantly we hopefully learn perseverance and are filled with a desire to continue to learn. Many times we also learn soft skills such as how to work with other people, communication skills, how feelings arise and hints on improving our emotional intelligence. Adley remains engaged because the learning moves at her own pace and expectations are kept to a minimum while at the same time she is encouraged to move outside her comfort zone and given the opportunity to explore. 

   All this learning is great, but years from now Adley will be considering higher education or entering the workforce. How does she show these institutions or businesses verification of this knowledge and acquired skills? This is where digital badges or e-badges come into play. Just as it sounds, a digital badge is a new type of credential that allows you to show specific skills that you have gained through learning experiences. A digital badge includes an icon but it is not a static image. It is web-based, clickable, and contains unique verifiable metadata, (showing what was involved in earning the badge). With these credentials, Adley will be able to display badges in 3D printing and design, video editing, electronics, and more. This will be a little more evidenced based than simply saying, “I learned it at the library.” 

    Education is on the cusp of reformative changes and many organizations in Southwest Colorado are involved in this effort. The Ignacio Community Library is actively involved and working to provide meaningful educational opportunities while also providing proof of this learning. Old definitions of libraries are being rewritten and I invite you to go back to school at the library and experience the future of education now! 

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