GALLIPOLIS — Whether you are looking for opportunities to enhance your career knowledge, or just interested in learning to enrich your personal life, Bossard Memorial Library’s offering of instructor-led online courses, through Gale Courses, puts a world of possibilities at your fingertips.
For library patron Marjorie Wood, the creative writing and publishing classes have given her a jump-start on a personal project. With six courses completed, Wood now has a wealth of information she learned from her classes filed away for future use and all that information was made available to her at no cost and on her own time line.
“They have it set where you can print out the courses. I have all these notebooks now I can go back and refer to, and all it cost me was a little paper and the ink for my printer,” she said.
Overall, Wood said the best part of the program has been the flexibility. While there are due dates, they are structured to allow students plenty of time to complete requirements in the best way that fits their busy lives.
“Everybody I talk to, I tell them, ‘This is an easy way to learn things,’” Wood said.
The length of the courses are also a benefit, she added.
“They’re just six weeks, two days a week. That’s not that hard,” Wood said. “If you have a busy lifestyle, this is an excellent way to get some extra classes.”
Bossard began offering the courses in March. The initial annual subscription to this service was made possible with the support of the Gallia County Charitable Foundation. Bossard decided to move forward with the program, as it fits within one of their main goals, to offer lifelong learning opportunities to patrons.
Bossard Executive Director Debbie Saunders said the library recognized there was a need for a program like Gale Courses, whether it was to give the public the opportunity to enhance their job skills or to stimulate them to learn something new. Patrons can take the courses anywhere they have a reliable Internet connection, including the use of the wi-fi and public access computers at the library.
“There are over 300 courses offered through this program and they’re adding new courses, anything from processing payroll to web design. The goal is that people take advantage of these courses and apply the knowledge gained in both their personal and professional life — maybe even spark their interest to learn a new hobby,” she said. “It’s never too late to learn a new skill. Your local library opens the doors to a world of opportunities. All you need is a library card and a reliable internet connection.”
Upon completion with a passing score, students receive a certificate of completion. According to Saunders, there is no age limit to take part in the program, as courses are open to adults and juvenile patrons.
Bossard Reference Manger Randall Fulks said the staff at Bossard is pleased to be able to offer this kind of service to the public.
“I personally feel Gale Courses have a lot of value in regard to education and building skills that prove to be invaluable in the job market,” Fulks said. “Through Gale Courses, our patrons now have free access to a variety of online classes. There is everything from basic accounting, Microsoft Office programs, cooking, genealogy, even guitar lessons. The list goes on and on. Each course is six weeks long and instructor led, so there’s someone there to ask questions of, if need be. Each course also offers multiple start dates so you can choose the one that fits best into your schedule.”
Since the library launched this new service in March, there have been nearly 1,500 course logins, with patrons spending 1,272 hours in class. Currently, the top courses are Discover Sign Language, Introduction to Microsoft Excel and Accounting Fundamentals.
“We fully plan to utilize this program here at the chamber,” said chamber Executive Director Michelle Miller. “It is such a great opportunity for our organization. We already have plans to register for a variety of the courses offered, ranging from marketing to event planning. While searching through the course offerings, I also found several I plan to take personally. I can’t wait to get started.”
For more information on the Gale Courses program, visit www.bossardlibrary.org or call the Library’s Reference Department at (740) 446-7323.