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  • Writer's pictureSerafina Paladino

How to Learn a Foreign Language at Your Local Library

Learning a foreign language is an exciting experience for students because it gives them the opportunity to explore new avenues in life that were previously unavailable. Many students will come to discover; however, that learning a new language is not always an easy task and that they may need some extra help getting started. Now that we live in the modern age where learning can take place online or even via a smartphone app, students will likely overlook all of the resources that their local libraries have to offer. In fact, I view the library as one of the best places to begin a student’s language-learning journey. Libraries are important to the community, and no other services exist that allow you to access a vast array of educational, historical, and news information for free like the library does. So, let’s take a look at the ways you can learn a language at your local library.

A beautiful library offering many opportunities to learn a foreign language.

What to Check Out?


Checking out books at the library seems like a no-brainer for students, but this resource should not be overlooked. Reading books is a great way to begin learning a new language. Some students may not realize that the library carries books in languages other than English. Many libraries, in fact, have a special section for foreign language books that are organized based on the language they are written in. By visiting your local library, you are likely to come across books written in a variety of different languages that are available for you to check out and learn from. If a student is not comfortable reading fiction in their second language, they can also check out foreign language dictionaries and grammar guides. In my studies, I found it helpful to read cultural and travel references to better understand the origin of a language as well.

Language CDs & DVDs

Listening is another important skill that students should practice to improve their language fluency. Along with books, audio courses can also be checked out at the library. These courses are typically categorized by the listener’s level so all students can make use of this great resource. Or if a student is looking for lighter study material, they can always check out foreign language music CDs at the library as well. I would also recommend that students visit the DVD section at their library if they are looking for a language course to watch. Students with a visual learning style should consider watching foreign films to strengthen their confidence in a second language. The library is just the place to start this study habit with all the DVDs they have available to check out. Every student can find something at the library that fits their study needs.

Mango Languages App

Mango is a language learning app that students can download onto their smartphone or computer to begin learning a language on the go or at home. Many libraries provide their patrons with full access to the app once they sign up for a library card. If you are a student interested in using Mango, make sure to stop by your local library and ask if this service is available, and do not forget to sign up for a library card while you are there. One unique feature of Mango is that it offers lessons for languages that are less commonly taught in a traditional school setting like Brazilian Portuguese, Italian, and Japanese. This app is a great way to learn a language wherever you are and for free. All you need is a library card.

Language Exchange

Many libraries host language exchange events like a conversation table where students are paired up with a native speaker of a language to practice speaking in a friendly environment. What is neat about these kinds of events is that usually they are partnered with a nearby university so people from a variety of different backgrounds can participate. It is not out of the norm for the library to hold language exchanges entirely online. During the height of the pandemic, I helped run an online Italian conversation cafe for my university. I cannot recommend this experience enough for language learners because it is a great way to meet people and learn something new in an exciting way outside of hitting the books.

Need Some Extra Help?

Now that you know about all the great resources that the library has to offer, you may be asking “where can I start?” Learning a new language can be an exciting experience but also one that is overwhelming if you do not have the proper study guide in place. That’s where ReDefiners comes in! We are a non-profit language school with a mission to advocate for multiculturalism and second language acquisition around the United States. We understand the value of language learning and the positive impact it has on our students, and that is why we believe the best way to learn a foreign language is through our online classes and workshops that we offer in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin Chinese. For more information on how to enroll follow the link below:, We hope to see you in class soon!

ReDefiners World Languages - the perfect place for affordable lessons in English, Spanish, Arabic, and Mandarin.

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Pasha Salnikov
Pasha Salnikov
Dec 08, 2023

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Oct 21, 2023

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