As the 21st Century progresses so must the educational options and freedom for young people to learn in greater and more diverse ways than ever before. Parents have become acutely aware that the government-operated schools are not able to offer their children a well-rounded education in which they can thrive. This fact is true when we consider that there are over 2 million young people in the United States who are being homeschooled, and the number is consistently growing. As local libraries consider the value of having homeschoolers frequent their institutions, they are learning how to best serve and meet the needs of this uniquely independent group of thinkers and learners.
Libraries, like society and the world, are always evolving, and the exciting news is that the local libraries are successfully serving homeschoolers in a variety of ways. For example, they offer programs, book discussions, arts and crafts, and workshops, and they are open to fresh ideas from the homeschooling population. Libraries will often display the artwork, science or other types of projects that homeschoolers have done. There is also the availability of separate soundproof meeting rooms. For example, as most libraries desire quiet, the meeting rooms are a great feature in which groups of homeschoolers can meet and interact without disturbing the peaceful calm of the library.
Another great asset of the library is the technology that is available. For example, patrons can utilize library computers for a variety of purposes. The internet can be accessed as well as a variety of computer programs. Many libraries also have a television available. Standard and still reliable equipment such as the tape recorder, old newspapers that have been saved on microfilm and the typewriter are still much in demand. Along with state-of-the-art equipment library employees are knowledgeable and should be called upon to answer questions and offer information.
Other great features are daily newspapers and current magazines and publications that are produced on a monthly or weekly basis. Another great feature is that of music resources. For the homeschooler who desires to study music, there may be thousands of music instruction books and sheet music for all learning levels. There are also thousands of movies and music CDs available. The greatest freedom is that subjects and books that are taboo or have been banned or restricted in government-operated schools are all available to the homeschooler at the library. In other words, students can enjoy some of the classics and they can learn about all religions. Libraries also offer handouts about the state laws and regulations that govern the local communities of homeschoolers. This vital information can put to ease any concerns that parents who are interested in homeschooling may have regarding their state’s laws.
One of the greatest benefits is that all library resources and materials are free and the hours of operation may be quite liberal. In other words, the learning experience does not have to end at a given hour as many libraries are typically open all days of the week from morning until evening for the convenience of patrons.