When you Google it, you will find that there are lifelong learning institutes, lifelong learning centers, lifelong learning departments at universities and much more... Lifelong learning is a "thing."
Wikipedia explains that lifelong learning is "the ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. Therefore, it not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development, but also self-sustainability, as well as competitiveness and employability."
Where might your local library fit into this equation?
"The library is a logical place to promote and support lifelong learning," said Danette Hopke, UW human development and relationships educator the UW Extension. And she should know. Hopke has spent much of her working life promoting the concept of lifelong learning. Taking ownership of your own learning and staying flexible will make you more valuable in the work force, she believes, but this is not even the most important feature of lifelong learning. Learning leads to empowerment, said Hopke, and empowerment leads to increased independence. And this, we know, is good not only for the individual, but for society at large.
Then there is the issue of dopamine - the good hormone that makes us feel better. Dopamine levels increase when we feel fulfilled and yes, one of those instances where dopamine levels have been known to rise is when we challenge ourselves to learn something new.
Many community organizations in the area offer lifelong learning opportunities, including Spooner Memorial Library and UW Extension, of course.
"The opportunity to engage in relevant, credible learning, whatever it may be," Hopke said, "is a part of a vibrant, healthy lifestyle."