Leominster Library University Set to Open
LEOMINSTER -- Massachusetts’ newest institution for higher learning opens in less than a week on a campus in downtown Leominster.
Though not technically accredited, and not offering any four-year degrees, Leominster Library University is a new program starting Saturday that library staff hope will draw in new members of the community and expose them to skills and subjects they’ve never had the chance to learn about.
“The idea is the library is a learning institution. Librarians know what we do, but we aren’t always good at communicating that to the public,” said Library Director Sondra Murphy.
Leominster Public Library has a long history of offering educational programs and events to the city, drawing an additional 10,000 people to the building each year, but Leominster Library University will increase the number of offerings while organizing them under monthly themes.
Starting this month, residents are able to attend classes and lectures based around monthly topics like cooking, technology, social justice, and travel.
Participants will also get the chance to “graduate” from the university at the end of the school year in June.
“I’m not sure exactly what it will entail yet but it will be something fun to celebrate all that we learned this year,” said Murphy. “And by branding all of our programs under one cohesive theme, we hope it will make people want to keep coming back.”
An added incentive will be an ongoing raffle of items only eligible to people participating in the university classes. Each student gets a punch-card and are entered into the raffles after attending 10 different programs. Though prizes have yet to be selected, Murphy said they could be adult education classes at Mount Wachusett Community College or an iPad.
The university’s opening day will be held next Saturday with its inaugural How-to Festival, in which booths will be set up throughout the building at which volunteer instructors will be demonstrating and teaching skills like basic bike repair, genealogical research, and crocheting.
The day will be capped off with presentations by key note speakers discussing tai chi and pollination. Saturday’s activities’ will also feature hands-on activities for children and will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Anyone with knowledge of a particular subject matter and interested in sharing it with the community are encouraged to contact the library to host programs and classes through Leominster Library University.
“I would love to get community teachers,” said Murphy. “If you can teach anything, and if you want to share it with people, that would be awesome.”
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