At the bottom of the screen on my MacBook Pro rests a toolbar, complete with Finder, Safari, and the entire Adobe Suite. Some are my friends — InDesign and Photoshop, for example, have shared family memories, frustrating editorial work, and big career growth. Illustrator, however, with its bright orange and saffron insignia, sits next to them and peers up at me, judging my hesitancy to click the icon and open the program.
This morning, with a bit of espresso in my veins, I nearly clicked on Illustrator to tackle my demon, but clicked on Safari instead. I decided to prepare myself first by logging on to lynda.com, an online learning platform that is free with my Monroe County Public Library (MCPL) card. My personal Lynda account allows me to take classes any time of the day from any location.
With Indiana University at Bloomington’s doorstep, education and information are often within reach, though typically at a cost — whether that be enrollment in the university or some other monetary obligation. MCPL is adding to what the university offers, but for free.
“There are so many people within the university, and so many resources,” says Steve Backs, an adult services strategist at MCPL. “We would like to complement those resources and provide an outlet for those not involved with the university.”
Lynda.com is widely used in higher education and in the corporate world for learning skills and training employees. It supplements what is typically offered in those realms, according to Backs, and is free to all MCPL members. The educational topics and classes include design, photography, business education, training tools for productivity, and more.
Today I am on the porch at Hopscotch Coffee, resisting another Ethiopia Hambela. I navigate through the options to find instructional videos on beginner-level logo design using Adobe software. Within seconds, the video loads on my screen, and, rather than read the small “about” section or topics list, I click play. The video is hours long, so I skip to sections that are interesting and helpful to me. The visuals aid my understanding, and there is a script that matches the words of the narrator of the video for me to review when my brain reaches inertia. I glance down, 90 minutes later, at the Illustrator icon resting smugly next to InDesign and Photoshop. The orange looks slightly warmer, the saffron a tad sunnier.
Backs believes that the online platform will offer a lot of information and help to people of all ages in the community, as well as to people in different stages of their careers or career searches. “There is a really good match for the products and support available between what we have at the library and what can be found at lynda.com,” Backs says. “It’s an important step for us.”
MCPL has expanded to provide more technical services over the past couple of years, adding to their community contribution. Though MCPL has purchased numerous products that support the use of its new digital creativity center, Level Up, Backs says they had yet to find a great way to train the people who wanted to utilize the facility, until lynda.com came along.
“We look at ourselves as one of the many ways that people can either develop their own skills or find enjoyment in learning,” Backs says.
Editor’s note: Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to log in to lynda.com using your library card. The Monroe County Public Library, located at 303 E. Kirkwood, is open for computer access and assistance Monday–Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday–Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.