There is no shortage of instructional videos available online. On YouTube alone, there are thousands of videos covering just about any topic or question. Whether you need to change your spark plugs, refresh your smartphone settings or sew on a button— you’ll find what you need.
But for more substantive and sustained instruction, free resources are usually inadequate or come with restrictions, caveats and endless ad interruptions. There are many reputable sources for curated, professionally produced and professionally vetted instructional content, but those sources are rarely free. If you are looking for job hunting, professional development or skill certification resources, try looking beyond YouTube. Consider looking at what Prince William Public Libraries have to offer.
Over the past several years, the Prince William library system has assembled a robust offering of online resources for educational, professional and career development. Patrons need only a library card to access online platforms offering high-quality professional instruction, advice and even training certificates.
Influential career source “LinkedIn Learning” offers hundreds of in-depth videos on technology, the creative arts and business. There are thousands of stand-alone videos on everything from computer programming to small business finance, from the basics of computer animation to learning to write calligraphy. There are also multi-part courses on topics including data analysis and becoming a “thought leader.”
The Library of Virginia also makes “Universal Class” available to all Virginia residents through the Prince William public libraries. It is a similar resource with a diverse offering of videos and online courses. As with LinkedIn Learning, courses on Universal Class feature credentialed experts, track your progress and offer completion certificates.
There are other resources tailored to business and entrepreneurial interests. The ACCEL5 Business Library offers videos on management, leadership and business skills, as well as brief summaries of some of the latest business and management books on the market. Also, the Library of Virginia is offering entrepreneurial training through the Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative, or “ELI.” The site offers an eight-part course on “Entrepreneurial Mindset Training.” This is yet another opportunity to access quality career resources through your library.
For yourself or any person in your life seeking to improve their job prospects, work performance or professional development, the Prince William public libraries have the resources to get some serious, relevant training.
Most of these resources are available from home -- or wherever you can access an internet connection. Get started today at pwcva.gov/digitallibrary.
Kirk Johnson is a manager in the Prince William Library System’s material services division.