Adult continuing education courses also take place in special Adult Learning Centers at 5 locations of the Brooklyn Public Library. The Central Library’s Learning Center contains classrooms, computer rooms and a generous media collection that offers not only materials to learn English, but also a collection of fiction and non-fiction works, DVDs and audiobooks selected with learners in mind. I was particularly impressed by the breadth of the course offerings: literacy, job preparation, financial literacy, IT skills for the workplace, and pre-high school to name but a few. I also found it very interesting that the Adult Learning Center also offers research training on how to use the library catalog. This builds a bridge to the library’s core mission and is an important addition to the general course offerings.
Adult Learning Center collection
Kerwin Pilgrim, the director of Adult Learning Literacy Services, told me about a program that was developed especially for young immigrants: the Young Adult Literacy Program is an offering for dropouts and young people who were not able to attend school in their home countries. The goal is to prepare them for the high school educational environment. The program is available from 5th grade on and youth are encouraged to participate with special gift cards or free public transit passes. Supplementary counseling is available on issues relating to housing, finances and nutrition. Participants can also become interns in the Brooklyn Public Library, another opportunity to recruit bilingual staff.
But there’s more than internships for immigrant youth: in the Business & Career Center, specially trained librarians can help prepare for interviews and teach how the media collection can be used for selecting a profession or training and completing an application. Furthermore, assistance in creating a resume or job portfolio is also available.
Young Adult Resume & Career Help
Literacy is a big focus of the Adult Learning Centers in Brooklyn. A wonderful by-product of the Literacy Classes is an annual publication, New Expressions, in which student short stories, poems, collages and statements about the work of the Adult Learning Centers are collected. One can only imagine how much putting out a book means to people who previously could neither read nor write.
Collage of a literacy student