Burst into bloom with learning opportunities at Andrew Carnegie library

Bulbs are sprouting, birds raising their voices in song, and all kinds of creatures shaking off the winter doldrums and scurrying about.

After months of bare branches, tiny dots of green appear on the trees. And the sun – remember that? What a difference it makes to step outdoors without first bundling from head to toe!

The breezes that recently felt so hostile and biting now offer a warm, welcoming embrace. Rejuvenation, rebirth, growth: These are a few of the reasons I love the springtime.

In my role as a library director, I tend to think a lot about those topics. I’m not focused on the growth of flowers and baby animals, but the intellectual growth of humans. Like a garden of ideas, the public library is a flourishing resource, a fertile place to learn and explore.

Many of us fall out of the habit of curiosity after we finish our schooling and enter the workforce. When we stop actively learning, our minds can feel like a fallow field in winter: once growing healthily, but now lacking the sunlight, nutrients, and warmth needed to nurture new life. We stop engaging with new ideas, have a harder time understanding our changing world, and grow tired and complacent.

But when fed and nourished, our minds burst into bloom like a long-dormant bulb. That energetic feeling of burgeoning vitality that I associate with the coming of spring feels just like the joy of watching library patrons engage in lifelong learning. When I see a patron exploring a new skill, grappling with a new idea or finding unexpected empathy in a novel, it’s like watching new leaves unfurl.

This spring brings with it a blossoming of learning opportunities for adults at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall. On April 30, we’re excited to present a special lecture on the history and culture of civilizations of the Middle East, the cradle of civilization and the spiritual birthplace of the Muslim, Jewish and Christian religions. Library volunteer Tibyan Saleh shares the fascinating story of her travels across her home country of Sudan and throughout the region.

Check www.CarnegieCarnegie.org for more details and registration information for this and all of our programs.

If you rent your living space, you may have wondered about your rights as a tenant and your landlord’s legal responsibilities to you. On May 10, join attorney Giuseppe Rosselli, Pitt law professor Jerry Dickinson and District Judge Jack Kobistek for a look at your rights concerning repairs, pest control, privacy, antidiscrimination and more. Bring your questions.

Are you on the lookout for a new job? Apply with confidence when you prepare yourself with the most up-to-date strategies and advice. You’ll learn what you need to know in a weeklong series of WorkLaunch programs, offered in collaboration with the Jewish Family Community Services and the Allegheny County Library Association.

Starting May 2, we’re offering free classes on interviewing, job searching, job fair strategies and how to change careers or find jobs later in life. All four programs will stream live over Facebook. That Friday, the week culminates with an afternoon job fair at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Oakland branch.

For most of us, personal finance is a topic where we have plenty of room to learn and grow, and our partnership with Dollar Bank makes financial literacy simple and accessible. Starting on April 28 and continuing for four consecutive Thursday evenings, bank representatives will offer free training on topics including personal budgeting, debt management, identity theft, and first-time home-buying. Get expert guidance and have your questions answered by financial professionals.

These sessions are live and in-person, but do not worry if you can not attend. We’ll also livestream them over our Facebook page.

Finally, while the library has always been a destination for computer help, we know that the tech support we offer has been difficult for our community’s non-English-speaking immigrant and refugee populations to access. With so much of life taking place online today, it’s important to us that we’s meeting the tech needs of our English learners as well as our English-speaking patrons.

That’s why we’re working with the wonderful folks at Literacy Pittsburgh to offer an eight-week series on Internet Basics for English Learners. The classes meet in-person at the library from 1 to 3 pm Thursdays.

As we enjoy the coming of spring, I hope you’ll welcome opportunities to feed your curiosity, nurture your intellect, and embrace the power and potential of lifelong learning. We’d love to welcome you to our library.

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