Holyoke, MA

The Holyoke Public Library isn't just about books anymore

Jayne B. Stearns

Books on HeadPhoto byMahrael Boutros @ Pexels

From induction cooking to free apps for your phone, the Holyoke Public Library is more than just for books. It's become a community center for learning and distributing knowledge to all walks of life.

The truth is Holyoke has two libraries. One is the neoclassically designed building on Chestnut Street that houses thousands of books. And the second is the virtual library, the one 'out there' in the virtual world. The library's website serves as a literal portal to this other world where you are given access to even more learning. And most of it is free. Who can argue with free, eh?

Holyoke Public Library's virtual connections

The website has a link to the Holyoke Public Library Academy where you can view dozens of videos on everything from making healthy eating choices to fraud to auto maintenance right in your own home. The videos are just long enough so even those with attention difficulties can stay tuned long enough to learn something.

Want to learn another language? Or are you planning to travel to another country but need to brush up on their native tongue? Then, using your library card, you can sign up through the Rocket Languages portal on the HPL website, and you'll be ready to go.

Suppose you're out of work or looking for another job. In that case, the Job & Career Accelerator combines everything you need for a successful job search into one easy-to-use online application. And you can build your resume through Novoresume, a resume-builder website that also has an excellent collection of scholarships they rank based on ease of entry and other topics. It's updated yearly, so your information is current.

Maybe you're a student who needs to keep pace with their school work but is too embarrassed to have a tutor. You can learn math, art, computer programming, economics, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, finance, history, and more for free through the portal to the Khan Academy, which is an American non-profit educational organization created in 2006 by Sal Khan.

Their goal is to create online tools that help educate students by producing short lessons in the form of videos. The academy's website also includes supplementary practice exercises and materials for educators.

And these are only a few organizations you can interface with through HPL's website. Here are a few more:

Department of Defense: Learn about careers in STEM fields

Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics: Kids' Zone

Department of Energy: Games and Activities; Virtual Field Trips to National Energy Labs

Environmental Protection Agency: Games, Quizzes, and Videos about the Environment

The Library of Congress: Presentations and Activities to Help Students Learn about History

NASA: Interactive Lessons about Space, Earth, Solar System, and Universe; Lessons from Astronauts about Living in Space; STEM Activities for Students of All Ages

The Kennedy Center: Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems; Tour the Kennedy Center with The Pigeon

The Smithsonian: Free Smithsonian STEM Games and Simulations; Meet the Animals of the National Zoo; 3D Exhibits and Virtual Tours; Smithsonian Magazine Ten Museums You Can Virtually Visit; The Museum of Natural History Virtual Tour; Digital Smithsonian American Art Museum; Distance Learning Resources

NOAA: Use Real-Time Ocean Data to Explore the Environment

USGS: Learn from Home About Physical Science, Geography and Maps

The Building

The beautiful building of the Holyoke Public Library is located at 250 Chestnut Street and is used for more than books. It is the home of historical papers and articles collected since the city's founding. In addition, it is a community center where rooms are reserved for committee meetings and training purposes.

They also lend - for two weeks at a time - portable hot spots for those who do not have consistent internet access. And a room full of individual computers offers access during operating hours, as well as printers.

The HPL seeks to promote endeavors to stimulate and expand children's and adults' reading interests and coordinate this work with other educational, social, and cultural groups in the Holyoke community.

One of these endeavors to stimulate and expand a reader's interest was developed by library assistant Mayra Rivera. And it's been a labor of love. You can see her Book Club display in the main lobby to the left of the stairs.

Book ClubPhoto byJayne Stearns

Mayra's taking intellectual care of the men of Holyoke with their own list and examples of the Best Books for Men to Read on the library's second floor.

Mens BooksPhoto byJayne Stearns

And Mayra's handmade Urban Books display offers some books you wouldn't even think of asking for. She's done all the work for everyone. All they have to do is read.

Urban BooksPhoto byJayne Stearns

There's more than just "something" for everyone at the Holyoke Public Library; there are many things for everyone there. Snuggle up with your little one at their morning and evening Story Time. Or listen to an author talk about their newest contribution to the literary world.

Who said libraries are boring?



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Jayne is a freelance writer, poet, and award-winning playwright specializing in writing human interest stories and anything else that satisfies a multitude of curiosities. Jayne is also a passionate advocate for recovery. You can email Jayne here: JayneBStearns@gmail.com

Holyoke, MA

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