Learning Lounges

Overview

A Learning Lounge is a physical or virtual space dedicated to providing adults with ‘just-in-time’ access to high-quality online or digital resources in a welcoming environment where staff are available to assist individuals. See ‘Virtual Learning Lounges’ below to learn more.

Learning Lounges help adults:

  • access digital and community resources to increase their literacy and numeracy skills
  • complete online employment and college applications
  • create resumes
  • learn and practice English
  • build technology and career readiness skills

Learning Lounges can be staffed by educators, librarians or volunteers who have experience or training in facilitating adult learning. The role of staff is to circulate and provide individual or small group assistance in using online or digital resources that can help participants meet their learning or job readiness goals.

In addition to technical support, staff might also provide well-informed personal referrals to local social, employment, or educational services, or administer assessments related to vocational training or digital literacy. Adults are welcomed to visit Learning Lounges as often as they need to accomplish their goals.

Virtual Learning Lounges

Due to individual needs and privacy concerns, virtual Learning Lounge services are best provided as one-on-one sessions. Staff can meet with learners one-on-one by appointment or put learners into separate virtual break-out rooms.

The concept of virtual learning lounges originated in March of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, libraries might decide to continue to offer virtual Learning Lounge services in addition to in-person services to accommodate the needs of learners. For example, learners may need help preparing a resume but their work schedule doesn’t permit them to get to the physical location of the library during Learning Lounge hours.

Conditions for Success

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Implementation at Providence Public Library

Learning Lounges at Providence Public Library (PPL) grew out of a recognition that many adults face barriers to participating in traditional adult education classes. PPL hosts its own adult education program, the Rhode Island Family Literacy Initiative (RIFLI), that serves an average of 400 adult learners annually. This program, funded in part through a state adult education grant, offers classes for English language learners, digital literacy instruction, and workforce training. Classes are held in public libraries throughout the state, workforce development centers, public housing, public schools and community-based organizations throughout the state. Through its involvement in adult literacy, PPL saw the need to accommodate adults who are unable to attend fixed-schedule classes, who are on waiting lists for classes, or who need ‘just-in-time’ help with education and employment-related needs such as preparing a resume or completing an online job application… Read More >

Learning Lounges Q&A