Why Every Language Learner Needs a Library Card

Libraries are already magical parts of our communities; places that truly deserve to be praised, and protected. But for language learners, they are an additional treasure trove of wonder to explore. Here’s why every language learner should get themselves a library card.

 

woman in red turtleneck sweater holding book between library shelves

Getting a library card can open the door to so many opportunities. / photo via Unsplash

 

Foreign language literature

Most libraries have entire sections devoted to materials in foreign languages. These can be the languages used by those in the local community, or those languages that are most popular to learn, like German, Spanish, or French. There can be novels, DVDs, and all sorts of other resources that are in your target languages. Libraries provide free realia that you can loan for a number of weeks, giving you ample time to study at your leisure.

You might even find translations of popular books in English, making your comprehension of, say, the Harry Potter series, a little easier for having already read them. And depending on the size of the library or what it has access to, there could even be music in the language you are learning. So many possibilities!

 

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Weeks and days

Many libraries contribute to the various language days and weeks that are celebrated each year, such as UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day. They might provide a venue for such gatherings, produce material in multiple languages, invite language learners to share what they already know, and so on. Libraries participating in such events might put you in contact with other learners to practice with, or tutors, or even pique your interest into signing up to a course if you’ve been thinking about it. Why not see what is happening in your local library?

 

Screenings

If you’re lucky enough to have a library with a cinema attached, perhaps they host weeks where they showcase foreign films. This could be in conjunction with film festivals held in your own town, a way for the library to reach out to the community by showing films in local languages, or even just as an opportunity for the library to promote a collection of the materials they have on offer. Whether these films are subtitled or otherwise, this is a fantastic opportunity to watch and listen to a film in the language you are learning, for very little cost.

 

group of people inside the library

Libraries are a great place to get work done in a quiet environment, whether you’re studying or work remotely. / photo via Unsplash

 

Study

If you’re the kind of person who needs a disciplined routine for learning, a library is a quiet space where you can focus on the task at hand. So if you have an upcoming test or just really need some space to concentrate on the language you are studying, a library is the perfect place to take some time for yourself.

Scheduling some time in your library to devote to language learning might help you build a better learning routine. A table to yourself in a quiet library corner with nothing to interrupt you as you work sounds pretty delightful to us; would a library help you study?

 

Computers

Yes, it’s true, we do all live on our computers, and many of us at minimum have a phone we could use for studying. But if for any reason you don’t, or your computer breaks at the worst possible moment, your local library likely has at least a few computers for you to use. You can do online language courses, speak with international friends, download materials to use later for practice, and so many other things. Why not book yourself in a session once a week as part of your learning routine?

 

person holding blue ceramic teacup beside the book

Library cafés mean a place to cozy up with a coffee while digging into new language learning material. / photo via Unsplash

 

Cafés

Many libraries, in a bid to keep themselves vital to a community, will also have a café attached. These perhaps aren’t as quiet as the libraries themselves, but are still a great location if you want to study away from home. They can also be a perfect venue if you are meeting with a language partner or tutor; far more sedate than your local Starbucks at the very least! You might even find material in the library to help you with your practice if you run out of things to work with. All while enjoying coffee and cake! What more could you want?

 

In short, libraries are fantastic resources for language learners, however you choose to use them. Whether you’re a learner on a budget or you just want something to borrow instead of buying in case the language isn’t for you, your local library should be your first stop on your language learning journey. Get yourself a library card!

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