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How Libraries Support At-Home Learning

Posted on September 22, 2020 by


by Jennifer, Youth Services Librarian

Adult and child at a laptop

Recently, a Facebook group of which I am a member changed its name from “Librarians Serving Homeschool Families” to “Librarians Serving At-Home Learners and Homeschoolers.” Parents are more involved than ever in their children’s education, and it’s imperative that they know all the resources that are available to them, especially the ones that cost little to nothing.  Enter the public library.

The Anderson County Library System is part of a consortium of twenty county library systems in South Carolina that share books and other items.  If we don’t have a book in Anderson County, but Beaufort County has it, you can put it on hold from wherever you are and have it brought to your nearest library branch, and it usually takes less than a week. The following chart shows how to save almost $300.00 on just a few items by using the library instead of purchasing books for your class.

Savings From Using the Library
TitleCost
Charlotte’s Web6.40
Wind in the Willows, The18.94
Where the Sidewalk Ends10.99
Aesop’s Fables9.89
Pilgrim’s Progress22.99
Velveteen Rabbit, The8.39
Grimm’s Fairy Tales36.49
Magic Treehouse set (Books 1-28)100.86
Boxcar Children set (Books 1-12)48.95
Jane Eyre11.94
Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry20.11
Total Savings:$295.95
*prices retrieved from Amazon September 14, 2020

But what if you need an item right away? Digital resources make that entirely possible. The Hoopla and Libby apps allow you to download e-books, audiobooks, music, and videos straight to your device. Want to take a free online course? The library offers the popular Universal Class on our website if you have a library card.  From Accounting to Web Development, Universal Class has dozens of topics for you, including more than 40 online courses under the “Homeschooling” category alone. Do you have a teen learning to drive? You can the find current SC DMV practice tests. Do you need a tutor for your child? No problem. Tutor.com offers one-to-one tutoring anytime, anywhere at no cost to you.

Learning at home presents many challenges. The library’s new resource Creativebug offers innovative ideas for making science fun.  Are you studying polymers? Let Creativebug show you how to make Galaxy Slime. (Full disclosure: I did this with my middle school age niece and nephew and it was a hit!) Are you studying the states of matter? Ponder the soap bubble: is it a solid, a liquid, or a gas? Creativebug shows you a great recipe for bubble solution that produces bubbles far sturdier than any solution you’ll find in the stores. (Another hit with my niece and nephew.) It’s science. It’s fun. It’s all available through the library.

Libraries all over the country have valuable resources online to help at-home learners and their families succeed. Here are just a few to spark your ideas for a successful school year. September is National Library Card Sign up month.  Stop by your nearest library to get yours today.

Mansfield Richland County Public Library in Ohio’s list of Helpful Websites for At-Home Learning.

Plano Public Library in Texas’s STEAM Connections

Finally, I encourage each family to download the Flipster app, which allows access to leading digital magazines on your mobile device. This can be limited to Family & Children’s resources, and includes the popular National Geographic for Kids, as well as Muse, which encourages reading for fun as well as learning.


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