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Question: Where can you get an education without first having to pass an entrance exam or pay tuition?

Answer: The Lake County Public Library.

Education is a top priority for the Lake County Public Library, evidenced by its mission statement: "The purpose of the Lake County Public Library is to provide the highest quality informational, education, cultural, and recreational resources and services to residents of all ages in the Lake County Public Library district."

The depth of LCPL’s materials collection is remarkable. . . more than 1 million items, including 936,388 books (print, audio, and digital); 41,494 periodicals; 111,045 DVDs and videos (feature and educational); and 56,647 CDs (music and instructional).

Dozens of databases and links to useful websites, selected by LCPL reference librarians, are accessible via LCPL's website ( From the home page, click on “Learn” to start your search.

Programs and classes are offered at branch locations. If you have an interest in learning, there is no better place to visit than the public library.

For patrons who are self-directed, there are unlimited topics to explore. A good place to start is the library’s online catalog. Not finding what you want? Ask a librarian to point you in the right direction. We are only too happy to provide assistance with your search.

In addition to pursuing an education through books and reading, consider attending some of the many classes Lake County Public Library offers patrons of all ages. The following are among the classes regularly scheduled at several branch locations:

  • Completely free computer classes for anyone who needs them, including Meet the Mouse, Basic Windows, Navigating the Net, Email Essentials, and One-on-One classes (for patrons in good standing, by appointment).
  • Educational films including travel, history, documentaries, in addition to independent films from around the world featuring cultures and stories rarely seen at your local theater.
  • Gardening classes on a variety of topics taught by master gardeners.
  • Book discussions facilitated by librarians. Interested in reading and discussing the classics? Join the Great Books Discussion group at the Munster branch. Book discussion groups at most branches read general fiction, but a few groups specialize in genre fiction.
  • English as a Second Language classes at the Merrillville branch cover speaking, reading, and writing English and are available for No-English, Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced levels.
  • Other classes include opera lectures, crafts, genealogy research, GED preparation, learning how to use digital devices.

Ray Bradbury said it this way . . . “I spent three days a week for 10 years educating myself in the public library, and it's better than college. People should educate themselves - you can get a complete education for no money.”

A lifetime of learning is possible at the Lake County Public Library. What are you waiting for?

This month's Lake County Public Library column was written by Branch Manager Linda Dunn of the Munster branch, 8701 Calumet Ave. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author.