Learning minds remain young at the Oak Harbor Library

Christa Werle, electronic services coordinator for Sno-Isle Libraries, helps attendees of her investing class, Carol Anderson and Debbie LaGasse, find the last price of stocks. - Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times
Christa Werle, electronic services coordinator for Sno-Isle Libraries, helps attendees of her investing class, Carol Anderson and Debbie LaGasse, find the last price of stocks.
— image credit: Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times

Sno-Isle Libraries offer a wide variety of activities for children, and events featuring authors and musicians. But now, there’s something for adults, too.

The Librarians as Information Guides program offers two-hour classes from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through June 20 in the meeting room down the hall from the Oak Harbor Library. These free, in-depth classes are geared toward enriching the minds of adults.

“It’s a pretty new thing in libraries,” said Kara Fox, adult services librarian at the Oak Harbor Library. The classes are funded by grants from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation.

“We’re hoping to bring more adults and especially more retired people into using all the library’s resources and thinking of the library as the community’s experts and not just for books,” Fox said. The specially trained librarians teaching the classes realize that adults learn differently than children and tailor their methods to adults.

“It’s a very community-oriented atmosphere,” Fox said. Attendees and teachers alike chat and make friends in the comfortable meeting room that allows for much one-on-one instructional assistance.

On Wednesday, May 2, Fox will teach “Mythbusting Science Information.” Fox will discuss what current brain research says about leading a happy, healthy life and how the library can help.

Also coming up are classes about being an informed consumer, downloading electronic books, staying healthy for life, travel and language and two classes about family history research.

On April 25, Christa Werle, electronic services coordinator for Sno-Isle Libraries, taught “Smart Investing Resources,” which took students on a hands-on journey through the research databases Sno-Isle Libraries offers free to anyone with a library card.

Five adults attended the class to learn where they can invest to make money in this economy, how to get a handle on saving for retirement and how to get specific information to evaluate where their money is invested.

Every student was supplied with a laptop computer so they could delve into the resources alongside Werle. Werle helped her students access resources like Value Line and Morningstar Investment Research Center to find reliable information about stock price stability for individual companies, industry reports and tools like a stock portfolio X-ray, which evaluates an actual or hypothetical stock portfolio.

Werle also taught the group how to search for articles using Boolean search operators and used a hands-on game to help the students remember how to access these resources from home.

“I feel good about the class and I learned a lot from the participants,” Werle said after the class. “The feedback at the end of the class was all very positive. There is so much information that the library can provide and I want to share it all, but two hours is not enough time. The best feedback I had was that many of the participants asked when the class would be offered again so that they could do some research on their own and then come back and learn more.”

“Any opportunity to learn new things is beneficial,” said Tom Frederick, who attended the class. “Investing has obvious benefits and the others are more general interest.”

Carol Anderson attended this class as well as the first class April 18 about navigating the online health information maze, which she described as “excellent.”

“It was easy to understand, it was informative and it was full of information, much more than I’d ever realized, and it was presented in a pleasant setting such as this,” Anderson said.

Frederick said he also signed up for the May 2 science class.

“We’ll find out the truth about global warming,” he said.

Another resource is the Book A Librarian program, which offers individuals a personalized, one-on-one session with a librarian for 30 or 60 minutes. Schedule a session by calling 675-5115.

Register for classes at by locating the class under “Class and Events,” or call 675-5115.


Learning never gets old

Classes are 2-4 p.m. on the following Wednesdays:

May 2: Mythbusting Science Information

May 16: Be an Informed Consumer

May 23: Downloading eBooks at Your Library

May 30: Healthy and Happy for Life

June 6: Sno-Isle Travel and Language Databases

June 13: Tracing Your Family’s Roots with Ancestry Library Edition

June 20: Family History Research With HeritageQuest

Classes are held in the meeting room down the hall from the Oak Harbor Library, 1000 SE Regatta Dr.

Register at


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