Libraries have a lot of responsibility, especially in smaller communities. Often the only space filled to the brim with knowledge in a ten-mile radius, the library must be a community thought leader, information highway and a reliable place for learning. With language learning on the rise, the library has taken on its next challenge: offering a language learning software to patrons free of cost. Although the needs and budgets of small libraries are a little different, 2016 may be the perfect time for your community to invest in a language learning software. Here are three reasons why language learning matters for small communities.
Encouraging active learning at your library
It’s no secret that learning a new language can be challenging. But when you invest in language learning programs at your library, you create a network of support for anyone in your community looking to learn Tagalog, Danish or any other foreign language. Start offering group meetings, speaking sessions and events for patrons who want to take the same the language. This will not only encourage participation, but it will provide patrons with a support system to get them through the minefields of tricky conjugations and those difficult tonal languages. Choosing a software program versus other methods also comes with the dual benefit of patrons taking the learning home with them as well as allowing you to offer classes in the library computer lab.
Open up a new world of culture to younger patrons
Learning a new language at a young age opens up a lot of doors, especially for those in a small community. By beginning a language education at a young age, children will gain invaluable linguistic and cognitive benefits only available to them in the first few years of their lives. Since this may not be an offering in your community currently, your library may be the only way young learners can achieve this luxury. With the requirements for higher education, jobs and even volunteer work piling up, multilingualism can give residents a head start in building the applications for the future. Encourage the parents to start them early with a language-learning program (like Little Pim!) and they will strap on their dancing shoes and χορός all the way to higher education!
Cognitive benefits for older patrons
According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, learning a new language, especially at an older age, can help improve memory function and sharpen minds among library patrons. Try offering special language learning classes and events both in your library and at local senior homes to reach retirees and introduce them to a world of foreign languages. Learning a new language will also open the doors for other learning opportunities your library may offer, including that collection of barely touched translated pieces and cultural readings.
Offering a language learning solution at your library doesn’t have be to be costly and comes with astounding benefits for your patrons and yourself. To learn more about how you can get language learning software in your library, take a look at our Planning Toolkit and see how you can make the most out of Mango.