Seattle Libraries Offer Free Online Courses for Members


Seattle Public Library card holders can now participate in online video courses pertaining to business, technology and creative skills free of charge.

Users can access the website,, either remotely or through their mobile devices. The classes run at the learner's pace.

"All you need is a county public library card and PIN to access's vast collection of courses," Los Angeles County Librarian Margaret Donnellan Todd said. "Our patrons can take an unlimited number of classes with 24-7 access on their computer or smartphone."

Taught by industry experts and experienced teachers, the lessons include lessons on topics such as photography, animation, business, music, web development, software and project management.

Courses come in all levels, from beginner to advanced, and come in a user-friendly format. Classes are organized into playlists on the program, which also tracks completed coursework for users. When finished, students can obtain a certificate of completion.

Many courses come with exercise files that allow users to follow along with tutorials when learning about things such as Excel by downloading pre-filled in Excel spreadsheet files.

Courses are usually offered at a cost of $25 or $37.50 per month for individuals, or $250 to $375 for an annual membership.

"You really have a lot of flexibility," Cindy Phillips, manager of library materials services for the Arapahoe Library District in Colorado, said. "I have taken a number of classes through them and they're great."

The service differs from an additional online learning tool through, which connects users to a real instructor for real-time lessons offered over a 6-week period. Meanwhile, offers its users the ability to access courses on their own time, having access to all the materials, or only a small amount, depending on what they prefer, writes Joe Rubino for The Denver Post. offers users access to more than 1,600 courses and 90,000 streaming videos. Participants have the ability to learn things such as how to retouch photos, design websites, record songs, create spreadsheets, and animate 3D graphics, among other things.

Permanent and temporary residents of the county can obtain a library card for free. Applications are available for free online. Residents just need to print them out and bring it with them to their local branch along with an ID card. Those looking to obtain a library card can also obtain an application at the checkout desk of their local branch.

Local branches offer books, CDs, DVDs, magazines and eBooks for users, in addition to computers and wireless Internet access.

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