Online Professional Courses, Crafting Workshops, and Genealogy Resources—Free with your Library Card

Painting, crocheting, photography, coding, and graphic design are some of the courses you can take with your Library card access

If you are doing some deeper-than-usual soul searching in this new year, you’re far from alone. In the last two years, almost a quarter of American workers have considered changing their careers. And nearly 60% have taken up at least one new hobby. (Sourdough bread baking, anyone?)

As people in our community increasingly turn to online classes to beef up their knowledge, the Bozeman Public Library has responded by investing in free access to some of the world’s top courses and databases.  

For instance, Gallatin County residents can now choose from more than 16,000 LinkedIn Learning courses, on topics such as photography, graphic design, computer programming, accounting, public speaking, and entrepreneurship. Taught by leading experts in their fields, the complete LinkedIn Learning (formerly catalog is totally free with your library card.

If you’ve been longing to join the legions of people rediscovering DIY and crafting, the online arts and crafts site Creative Bug opens the door to over 1,000 video courses, including sewing, knitting, painting, jewelry making, cake decorating, and food preserving.

Both sites are entirely accessible from home. If you drop by the Library, however, you’ll have free in-Library access to the world’s largest genealogy database, Ancestry Library, which offers billions of census documents, marriage records, historic photos, and other resources for researching your family tree. The Library also provides easy access to Gallatin County Genealogical Society and Montana Memory Project resources.

And for those who are doing academic research or just want to keep up with the world, the Library provides online access to the EBSCO academic journal database and—a serious money saver for news junkies—free at-home access to the News York Times.

While the Library continues to add books to its physical collection, electronic resources are a great way to reach people who can’t come to their Library —or prefer a different way to learn. “It is important to offer materials in many different formats,” explains Carmen Clark, who leads collection management. “In the Library, we have regular books, large print books, audiobooks on CDs, movies, and magazines. Not every patron wants to download an eBook or audiobook, yet some patrons will do exclusively that and are not interested in checking out a physical book.  It’s all about access and meeting our patrons’ needs.”

This online treasure trove is great news for Library patrons, but it’s no surprise to anyone who has noticed their personal online subscription costs rising that e-resources can significantly increase costs for the Library. 

The Library’s subscriptions to LinkedIn Learning and Creative Bug, plus other offerings, are made possible by support from donors like you. Thanks to you, your community has online access to courses that help people succeed and bring new business opportunities to Bozeman. Your neighbors also appreciate the at-their-fingertips opportunities to nurture their creativity and interests.

And can you guess the most popular new hobby, according to a recent poll? It’s reading. Your Library has got that covered too, of course.