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Lifelong Learning

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Part of NYPL's Mission is to inspire lifelong learning. No matter your age, where you are in life or what new thing you are trying to learn, you can follow this channel to get suggested resources as well as support and inspiration.

Images: How to mend broken china.
How to preserve autumn leaves.
How to increase lung power.
How to draw an ellipse with string.
How to Find the North.
How to "swat that fly".

Creative Aging Continues to Bloom at The New York Public Library

In recent decades, much has been said about the demographic changes that New York City shares with the rest of the world. Yes, we are getting older!

One widespread response has been a surge of programs to promote creativity in mid- and later life. NYPL has happily participated in these efforts, especially since 2010 when we started partnering with Lifetime Arts Inc. to offer our first Creative Aging courses, which took place in six branch libraries. Each course was taught by a professional teaching artist 

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Why Save Languages? A Few Words About Language Extinction and Revitalization

There is no language like the Irish for soothing and quieting. —John Millington Synge, The Aran Islands

An Irish Hearth. Part of a painting by Philip Gray. Used with permission of the artist.When I think of my father during my growing-up years, I usually picture him relaxing after work in a kitchen chair with a newspaper, next to the radiator. Did he sit there because its warmth took him back to the hearth that was the heart of the cottage he grew up in, in the rural west of Ireland?

Another memory is of him teaching me how to greet someone and a 

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Crochet Made Simple: How Books Written for a Younger Audience Can be the Best Teachers

I tried several crocheting books with what appeared to be simple enough patterns for a beginner, but I couldn’t get it. I’m a patient person when it comes to learning new things, but I found the instructions in these books confusing. Even Crocheting for Dummies seemed a bit too advanced.

Then I stumbled on Get Hooked Again: Simple Steps 

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What Inspires You? A Book List of the Creative Process

Artists are always asked about what inspires them, what they were looking at (reading, eating, drinking, feeling, etc.) when they made this or that piece of art. They often remain coy, not wanting to divulge too much of the creative process, for fear of its ruining the mystery, or muddying the individual's personal interpretation of a work. In spite of their best efforts, the creative process, that window into the unique mind of the artist, remains a fascination for most of us. So, when we received a new title a few months ago,

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Grow, Preserve, Pickle, Cure, Brew, Do It Yourself: Homesteading in the City

The first time I made my own cheese, it was a revelation. It was so simple and easy, it was ridiculous to me that I had spent years buying it at the store like everyone else.

I wasn't making brie or cheddar or anything fancy or aged at all, just the standard fresh ricotta that usually comes in a tub in the dairy case. Making your own ricotta is only slightly more involved than brewing tea. You slowly warm up whole milk in a pot. When it gets to a 

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Cracking the Code: Learning Computer Programming Languages

I learned to code when I was in fourth grade. Okay... maybe that's an exaggeration. I learned Logo when I was in elementary school, using an Apple IIe (in the school library, naturally) and later a Macintosh.

Logo is a programming language that was developed as an educational tool for kids. You issue commands to the "turtle" (pictured at left) and receive output as his simple or complex path on the screen. I didn't know it at the time, but I was solving puzzles and making cool geometric 

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The Jefferson Market Library Free Classroom: Spring 2012

Jefferson Market Library, in an effort to offer substantive courses that teach the subjects you want to learn, is thrilled to offer its Spring Semester! Each course offers multiple sessions so students can build their knowledge as the course advances, class by class, guided by an experienced professor! And it's all free! Take a look:

Remember (just like in college) — for all courses requiring pre-registration — students are expected to attend all sessions to achieve the maximum 

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New Year's Resolution for 2012: Learn a New Language!

As 2011 slowly comes to an end, many of us are anxiously waiting for 2012 to arrive! Usually around this time — for some of the ambitious ones — we make New Year's resolutions. Can we actually keep them through the end of the year? Maybe. It depends on your resolutions and the goals you create to achieve them. Some have many resolutions for the year, such as creating and maintaining a 

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Readings for New Year's Resolutions

USA.gov provides a listing of popular New Year's Resolutions and related government resources to help you meet any of these goals. The Library is also a great place to find information to help you start off the New Year on the right foot.

What are you going to focus on this year?

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Notes From a Life-long Learner: Podcasting

A podcast is an audio program anyone can make, post to a website, and make available for download onto a computer or portable device, such as an iPod (hence the term “podcast”). Listeners can subscribe to a podcast and get future episodes downloaded automatically as they become available. You probably already subscribe to podcasts of various kinds, but have you ever considered making your own?

Come on! You could garner a great following and become the next (insert favorite radio personality here). Or you 

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Yoga: History and Resources at NYPL

As the holidays are slowly creeping in the corner, starting this week, we are often reminded of this unwelcoming annual maelstrom of booking trips, planning family gatherings and get-togethers with friends and loved ones at a time of maximum anxiety.  We find ourselves dangerously flirting with "stress" and "tension" as another year has come and gone. 

These holidays are not intentionally harmful but we as human beings tend to strive for perfection in everything we do 

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The Floating University and other Online Learning Tools

The New York Public Library recently announced a partnership with The Floating University to present the 'Great Big Ideas' video lecture series. The first one took place yesterday, and was a lecture titled If You're So Free, Why Do You Follow Others? The Sociology and Science Behind Social Networks, Altruism and the Genetic Origins of Human Interaction presented by Professor Nicholas 

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Storm Reading: What Were You Reading During Irene?

What were you reading during Irene? Friday evening, Mid-Manhattan Library patrons were busy until 8 p.m. stocking up on books and DVDs to see them through the weekend storm. Some people were looking for fat 19th century novels, cozy mysteries, or vampire sagas to while away the weekend, while others had ambitious study or DIY projects in mind.

We had requests for novels by

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Celebrating the Centennial: The Tilden Library

Detail of Vernon Howe Bailey's drawing of the "Tilden Library" reading roomContrary to what you may have heard — or thought you heard, at least — this year does not mark the centennial of The New York Public Library. The centennial marks the opening of what many still think of as the Library's "main branch" on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, the Beaux-Arts landmark recently rechristened the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. But we could also call it the centennial of the Tilden Library, as I'll 

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Recipes from the Reluctant Camper

Summer is in full swing. Maybe you've taken a cruise, a roadtrip, a European jaunt or a trip to the beach, but summer would not be complete without a night spent with only a thin layer of nylon separating you from the starry sky and the cool night air... am I right?

No?! Well 

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The Ticketless Traveler: Into the Woods

"We just passed two huge black bears on the trail. They're not cute."

Photo by Kerri WallaceMy hike in Harriman State Park started off with the only concern being the chance of rain and ticks. I had packed my 99 cent rain poncho and doused myself in OFF bug spray to the amusement of my friends. I could handle seeing snakes, bucks, and other wild animals, but ticks were the last thing I wanted to find on my body or in my hair. My fears soon changed when we passed a father and daughter who mentioned 

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Notes From a Life-Long Learner: God — To Be(lieve) or Not To Be(lieve)

I spent a recent weekend pondering the existence of God. It’s something I do from time to time because I was a religious person once, in the Judeo/Christian tradition, but am not so now. After many years, I’m still getting used to living without that label. I have to admit, my non-religious years have been very good years.

One interesting documentary that makes a case against the Judeo/Christian God is called The God Who Wasn’t There. It presents the story of

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Notes From a Life-Long Learner: Rattlesnake!!!

The sound of a Rattlesnake's warning is terrifying and hard to describe. It doesn’t sound like a baby’s toy. Well, it might if the toy was being shaken at a million times per second by an angry, tight-fisted god who looked kind of like a baby. Add to that impossible sound a buzz and a sinister, insistent shhhhhhhhhhh. You may think I’m being dramatic, but in my defense, it’s easy to be dramatic when you’re face to face with a Diamond 

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Notes From a Life-Long Learner: Comedy Writing

"It's the jokes. I need the jokes."

This is something a young library patron said to me the other day. He wanted me to find him a DVD of Abbott and Costello’s greatest movies and routines.  I felt an instant kinship with the boy, whom I’ll call Hal. “Yes,” I thought as I took to the catalog. “It’s the 

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Notes From a Life-Long Learner: Social Dance

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