Change Your Life: Learn Something New at the Library

I appreciate a good quote. A few beautiful words, strung together just so, can make my heart skip with delight. I keep a journal where I record my favorite sentences from books or song lyrics that resonate with me. You’ll find inspirational quotes hanging on the bulletin board of my office encouraging me to pursue the things I love. But even though I am drawn to lovely words, I recognize that those motivational sayings don’t really mean anything unless those words become action. I have a few things I’d love to try and skills I want to learn, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. We all have dreams that are lying fallow– starting a new business, traveling to a foreign country, making beautiful quilts. But it’s difficult to go from “I’d love to do that” to actually taking the steps to start, especially when it requires learning something new; you need to know how to write a business plan to start that business or how to cut and piece fabric before you can make a finished quilt. It all seems so daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. 

Right now, the public libraries in Jefferson and Waukesha counties are pulling out all the stops for something we call the Summer Library Program. People usually just think this is for kids, and even though we are passionate about helping children retain and improve their reading skills, we also recognize that learning and fun comes in all forms for all age groups. That’s why Summer Library Program is open to teens and adults too. That’s why we pair reading challenges with programs and activities focused on music, science, technology, or art. We believe in the power of knowledge to change lives, so our goal is not only about encouraging you to push yourself as a reader, but about also inspiring you to try new things and develop your personal interests. Even though we offer learning opportunities and fun activities all year long, summer just seems to be the perfect time to take a chance and try something new.

So if I was going to write a motivational quote for you, it would be: Keep learning. True, it’s not the catchiest phrase in the world, but it’s a quote that calls you directly to action. Keep learning: take an online class on sign language or grant writing. Keep learning: come in for a magazine on meditation or books on building your own pole barn. Keep learning: go to that yoga, sewing, or email class; attend presentations on beekeeping or the Big Band era or hiking the Ice Age Trail. Keep learning with your kids and grandkids: stop in to do science experiments and make musical instruments and have dance parties. There is so much to learn, so much to know, so many skills to perfect. What has been on your goal list for a while? Maybe now is the perfect time to start. Maybe the library is the place to go. Maybe this will finally be your summer.

Written by Jill Fuller, Marketing & Communications Coordinator. A version of this article appeared in the Waukesha Freeman, the Oconomowoc Enterprise, the Daily Jefferson County Union, the Waterloo Courier, and the Watertown Times in June. We will be sharing those pieces here on our website a few weeks after each piece has been printed.