Do you know you have the opportunity to take an online course at the library in a learning circle?
A learning circle is a study group for learners who want to complete online courses, together and in-person. This is a free opportunity for everyone. Librarians serve as facilitators for massive online open courses (MOOCs), and the group usually meets one night a week for 90 minutes, for 6 to 8 weeks.
Here are our upcoming courses:
- Start Writing Fiction at Harold Washington Library Center
- Storytelling for Change at West Town
- Start Writing Fiction at Rogers Park
- Start Writing Fiction at Blackstone
Shelley, librarian at West Town Branch, is an experienced facilitator and has offered patrons the opportunity to take many different courses at that branch. After facilitating a creative writing course, she shared some thoughts on why learning circles are such a good opportunity.
Q: How did the learning circle benefit your local community?
A: It was a true intergenerational, diverse group that really came together to support each others' learning. Our youngest member was in her 20s, and our oldest member was in his 70s. We had native English speakers and people for whom English was a second language. We had graduate degree holders and folks who never finished high school—a true cross section of Chicago, and people who may not normally interact. And yet, they came together to encourage each other and continue to keep in touch and share writing even after the course ended!
Q: What was the best thing about the unique format of learning circles?
A: Seeing the learners grow not only as writers, but form a cohesive and supportive group.
Q: If someone was considering joining a learning circle this spring, what would you say to them?
A: Do it! Not only is it a chance to learn something new in terms of the course content, you'll probably make a new friend or learn something new from one of the other people in your course.