It used to be that you went to the library to borrow books. Now you can go to the library to get your high school diploma.
Lately, there are so few people standing in line to borrow books that neighborhood libraries have been closing their doors. For one thing, people are reading much less than they used to and for another thing, they can download library books onto their laptops and reading devices without ever having to come into the library.
In a surprise move, a Los Angeles public library is planning to go beyond its function as a repository for books. It will start offering an accredited high school diploma to adult students who will take courses online but will meet at the library for assistance and to interact with fellow adult students.
The library hopes to grant high school diplomas to 150 adults in the first year and offer programs to prepare students for the GED (General Educational Development) test. High school course work is not required for a GED diploma, which can be obtained by passing an extensive test.
Since taking over the helm in 2012, the library’s director, John Szabo. has pledged “to reconnect the library system to the community and has introduced a number of new initiatives to that end, including offering 850 online courses for continuing education and running a program that helps immigrants complete the requirements for U.S. citizenship.”
Szabo hopes to make libraries a full educational institution whereby its students will be required to take online courses to earn high school credits. However, unlike the traditional high school, the online adult students will have to choose a career path so their education can be geared toward their future job.
It has been so many years since libraries have met the needs of the community other than putting computers on tables that anyone can use. It will be a good thing to see high school dropouts get diplomas in fields that will lead to good paying jobs. My guess is that the issues they dealt with as teenagers will be behind them and now they will be more ready to study and work hard to secure their future.