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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".

The Art and Science of Cooking

I like to cook, but I am not much of a baker. There is one yearly exception... the transition to autumn and then the holiday season usually puts me in a baking mood. For the past few Christmases I've made biscotti — Italian cookies flavored with nuts, spices, or dried fruits. They are something of a tradition in my family. This year when I got out my mixing bowl I grabbed a dry measure for the flour and sugar, but then I put it away. I decided not to use it.

Now, I know baking is all about scientific precision! 

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The Art of the Personal Essay with Charles Salzberg

Charles Salzberg, faculty member, and one of the founders of the New York Writer's Workshop, gave a one-evening seminar at the Mid-Manhattan Library on December 11th. Sign-ups for the evening's seminar closed at the 15 people who registered online at the New York Public Library's website, but Mr. Salzberg graciously allowed in 9 more people. To introduce the program, I brought two copies of 

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My Library: Shauna

This week, we are wrapping up our second semester of French classes at Jefferson Market. After Saturday's class, we caught up with Shauna, one of the students.

What made you want to take a French class?

I've always loved languages and it's been a goal of mine to try to learn at least one or two languages fluently, in addition to English. Also: mon petit ami est français.

We are always glad to assist with romance! How did you end up taking the class here at the library?

I found out that the 

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11 Free Websites to Practice English at Home

RTlibrary on FlickrAt the New York Public Library's Adult Learning Centers, where adults work on basic English and literacy skills, we're often asked for recommendations of websites for adults to practice English at home. Below you'll find eleven sites, some with a focus on listening, some on vocabulary, others on grammar, and some with a range of activities. Happy learning!

Easy World of English

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My Library: Philosophy Class

The Jefferson Market Library continues to offer multi-session courses in subjects taught by college professors — just like you'd take in an adult continuing education program at a university. Recently we offered a free six-session Introduction to Western Philosophy course. Here's what two participants in that course, Carlos and Shaan, had to say:

Carlos

What did you think of the philosophy course?

It was great to get an overview, to look at all these different philosophers — it 

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Personal Finance Reading Recommendations

For me, the fall has always been a time of fresh starts and new beginnings. The promise of many new school years continues long past graduation as I advance in age and each autumn still feels like an opportunity.

This year I have been getting my finances in order and naturally I used library resources, the most fiscally responsible tools available. Where to start? My Financial Intelligence list of accessible personal finance resources has a few recent titles explaining "the new normal." 

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Celebrating Art Beyond Sight: The Value of Creating and Appreciating Art for Those with Low Vision

photo courtesy of Art Beyond SightIn October, museums and other cultural organizations throughout the U.S. and the world celebrate the 10th annual Art Beyond Sight Awareness Month. The goal: "making pictorial literacy and access to the world of art a reality for all blind people."

Elisabeth Salzhauer Axel, photo courtesy of Art Beyond SightThe organization Art Education for the Blind was founded by museum educator 

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Robot Dawn: The Stage Origins of a Sci-Fi Idol

Nothing is more strange to man than his own image. —Dr. Alquist, sole survivor of the robot rebellion.

It's standard sci-fi melodrama now: The robots evolve and become indistinguishable from their creators. They rise up and in their revolt decide to eradicate the human race. Sound familiar? Well, before you start looking for Arnold Schwarzenegger, it's not 1984 and we're not in a movie theatre. The year is 1922 and it's all happening live on stage in an Off-Broadway theatre on 35th 

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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 to Crochet More Cool Stuff by Kim P. Werker in the Young 

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What Inspires You? A Book List of the Creative Process

Listed are titles in the subjects of Graphic Design, Interior Design, Fashion, Drawing and Painting, Photography and Literature that seek to satiate the curious, and perhaps stroke the ego of the artists, by divulging what has influenced and inspired creativity.Read More ›

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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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 Henry James and

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