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Learning a New Language? Your Library Can Help You Talk the Talk

Photo of a pronunciation guide in a dictionary

If you’re hoping to expand your horizons while self-isolating at home, try learning a new language with help from your local library—you can access language learning resources and programs all for free with a library card.

Check out your library’s online catalog to see what introductory textbooks and dictionaries they have in your target language. Many libraries also have language learning materials available in ebook form, allowing you to instantly download a title of your choice from the comfort of your home.

If you prefer learning online, your library may also provide free access to software like Mango Languages, which makes studying grammar and vocabulary simple, interactive, and fun. Some programs offer apps you can download on your phone so you get can your practice in on the go.

Many libraries also offer their own classes in various languages, allowing you to work directly with a trained instructor—all for free. You can also check to see if your library offers conversation groups in the language you’re studying so that you can practice chatting with fellow learners. While most in-person library activities are suspended during COVID, many libraries are offering a full suite of programming online or over the phone.

Once you’ve started to get the hang of the basics, you can keep your skills sharp by enjoying books, movies, publications, and more in the language of your choice; visit your library’s website to see what’s on offer. Downloading free audiobooks in your favorite genre is a great way to improve your listening comprehension while you’re in the car, doing chores, or working out.

With your library’s help, you’ll be multilingual before you know it. What language are you most excited to learn?

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