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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects. at the Library

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, August 12, 2018


Today’s public library has much more than just the traditional books-on-the-shelf.  For the past century public libraries have been adding new formats to their collections as technology has expanded.


Audio-visual formats, 8 mm and 16 mm films, microfilm, recordings to name some of the early formats expanding to various online systems that don’t require the user to physically visit the library building to obtain information.


Ohio’s public libraries, through the Ohio Public Library Information Network, is adding a new resource called for all library card holders.


Officially starting Sept. 1, our library system already has it accessible at under the e-resources tab because we are accessible to the link and ready-to-go.


Public library users will be able to access well-directed, self-paced online learning at any skill level through and your library card. has more than 12,000 courses available online, ranging from computer programming to project management including instruction on various computer softwares.


Programming languages and business topics are featured in step-by-step courses, supported by quizzes, practice, and learning reminders to encourage and support you as you progress towards your educational goal.


Other courses have learning paths to web developer, manager, bookkeeper, small business owner, and digital services. was established in 1995 by Lynda Weinman as online support for the books and classes of the animator professor.


Online classes began in 2002 and have grown dramatically until her company was purchased in 2015 by LinkedIn Corp., which itself was acquired by Microsoft the next year.


Making available through Ohio’s public libraries is a new venture in expansion, due to Ohio’s OPLIN; this move is possible and unique in information distribution.


To access, you must enter through our library portal with library card in-hand to create a personalized account with your name and email address.


Your account will then help you manage your course history, playlists, bookmarks, and certificates for completion.


Many courses also feature files for you to practice your skills with, so that you can follow the activity with downloadable, pre-populated files.


It is difficult to list all of the possibilities, but a small list would include 3D, animation, audio, business, creative inspirations, design, and developer, home computing, photography, video, and web design.


Library staff is reviewing this new resource.  An old librarian like me finds the whole concept of a library offering 12,000 courses online to be amazing, surprising, and downright exciting!


I am pleased that our library system was included as some of the first Ohio libraries offering and we will all learn together the features of this massive resource.


And Ohio leads the nation with all 251 public library systems making it available is astonishing, and due in part to the existence of a statewide network started in 1995 called OPLIN.


Ohio leads the nation in the linkage of its public libraries into networks sharing the resources of our systems with all of Ohio’s citizens.


I was recently talking to a family who relocated to our area due to the oil & gas industry, and their family had just completed the Summer Reading Club at our library system.


He told me that his family was pleased with the services provided by our library system, which is far beyond their previous residence.  (in a state I won’t name)


Be sure to say thank-you to Ohio’s legislators for their continued support of Ohio’s public libraries through the Public Library Fund.