Autumn is here, people. Yards of lush grass are now covered in orange and yellow leaves, and the temperatures have dipped below not-wearing-a-coat levels. With the change of seasons into the darker months, I find it a lot easier to become lethargic and complacent with lounging around. Let’s be real, when it’s windy and chilly, nothing sounds more appealing than curling up in a blanket with a nice cup of spiked hot cider, lighting a candle, and watching movies all day. Talk about heaven!
At the same time, I also think fall is an excellent time to awaken the intellectual depths of our innermost mind and find a way to challenge ourselves to learn something new. The adventures of summer vacations and time spent exploring the outdoors is over, and we are forced to spend a lot more time inside. Why not take this time to learn about the history of that quaint European city you’ve always wanted to visit? How about trying that new cooking technique you’ve been pining over? Or, if you’re dead set on sticking to the “curling up with cider watching movies all day” agenda, why not watch a documentary on a subject you know nothing about? There are countless options for anyone who is willing to go outside of their comfort zone just a little.
“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” -Henry David Thoreau
As the quote above explains, it is not good enough to just think one time about something we wish to accomplish or learn. To make that deep mental path in our consciousness, we must make it a habit to learn and explore out of our own volition. Henry David Thoreau, a famous transcendentalist and author of many books including Walden, constantly challenged the world around him and his own notions and preconceptions. We can learn a lot from his mentality and you can adopt a mindset today that will allow you to start breaking down mental barriers and exploring ideas never before realized. It can all start with a trip to the library.
When you’re hankering to get out of your house on a chilly day, grab yourself a to-go cup of coffee or tea, bring your laptop and headphones to your local library and set up shop for the afternoon. If you already have a topic you are interested in learning more about, you can use a keyword search on your library’s online catalog to find books related to that topic. If you don’t have a subject you’re dying to be more educated in, it’s always interesting and fun to just walk through the stacks and pick something random that catches your eye!
My autumn challenge to all of you is to decide on a personal goal that fits into your lifestyle of how you are going to use your local public library to better yourself throughout the rest of this year. Some examples could be:
- Checking out a cookbook or two and trying one new recipe per week
- Taking a free language course online through your library website, if available
- Finishing one or multiple book(s) without having to renew them
- Borrowing a new workout DVD every week and completing all of the workouts on them
- Learning a new computer program or software that could help you at work – this could be done with books or online classes offered through your library , if available
- Visiting your library once a week to browse through your favorite magazine
- Becoming informed on a hot topic you would like to become an activist for – climate change, civil rights, religion, you name it
The possibilities are ENDLESS. Find something that works for you. Personally, this fall I decided to start The Library Diary as a way to push myself to be more productive (to find out why I’m so passionate about libraries, read my first post!). I have also become more dedicated to working out 3-4 times before work on weekdays and eating healthier. I found books at my library on meal prepping and healthy cooking. I also decided to try out the book group my library offers every month (I can’t wait for my 1st meeting in November!) It doesn’t need to be the start of a new year to better yourself or have resolutions… that should be happening every day, year round.
If you decide to take on this challenge, share your goals and ideas with me! I would love to hear how you are using your public library to learn and improve yourself. If you can’t come up with anything that fits your lifestyle, also let me know! I would love to help you out with ideas, and would even be willing to research what services your library offers to make it a little easier for you.
Who knows, maybe if you give learning at your library a chance, you might just like it enough to keep doing it when autumn ends 😉