Remember when your days were filled with structured learning? You could, by choice or because you had to, go to school and be presented with a list of books and articles introducing you to new ideas and worlds? It was such a delight! “Gee, I’m interested in learning about World History. I guess I’ll take a World History class.” And then, blammo! You were given the tools you needed to learn something new.
As post-formal-education adults it’s easy to long for that. But just because you no longer have an instructor to guide you, doesn’t mean you can’t keep learning! And you don’t have to settle for Wikipedia articles, nor do you have to slog through a 1,000 page treatise.
Here’s a great example. Austin Public Library has over 150 titles from the series, Very Short Introductions. The series includes introductions on topics in humanities, sciences and social sciences. Interested in learning about the fundamentals of Freud‘s work in psychoanalysis? We’ve got Freud: a very short introduction. More interested in hard science? Maybe you’d like Engineering: a very short introduction or Statistics: a very short introduction. Or read up on The Plague or Sleep or Magic or Mormonism! The point is, these introductions are great little guides to new subjects and each one runs about 130 pages so you can get a good foundation in a new subject without taking a whole course. And no one will ask you to write a paper when you’re done!
You can pull up a list of the series by simply searching for 'very short introduction' in the catalog or you can add that phrase to a topic of interest to see if we have a very short introduction on something specific.