Specialist Library Services

Courses and learning

Man learning on computer

Learning is at the heart of what libraries do.  All libraries stock books and other resources that allow you to undertake independent informal learning.  In addition, most libraries hold a variety of courses that could help you learn new skills.

Independent learning

All libraries stock books on a wide range of subjects, ranging from history and archaeology, to more practical subjects such as DIY, handicrafts, car maintenance and health. The two largest libraries - Newport and Ryde - stock the largest range of subjects, but books can be reserved for a very small charge, and sent out to any other library for collection. Please ask in any library if you would like help locating books on any particular subject.

Language courses

Libraries stock audio language courses on CD, covering the most popular languages that our customers ask for most frequently. Isle of Wight library members can also access language courses online, covering around 80 different languages.  To find out more about these online library courses, click here.

Online courses

Isle of Wight library members can access a wide range of online courses via the library website. Once you have followed the link from the library website, you will need to enter your library card number. In most cases, you will then be prompted to create an account with the external supplier of the course you are accessing. These include:

  • Universal Class: 500 different online courses covering a wide range of recreational, academic and practical subjects. These are non-credit courses - i.e. they are done for your own personal enrichment, and do not lead to qualifications.
  • Atomic Learning: online IT courses on many common software applications
  • Driving theory test practice
  • UK citizenship test practice

To find out more about the above courses, click here.

Courses in libraries

Most libraries offer a range of courses and classes.  One-off courses include sessions on researching family history, and "silver surfer" classes, which offer a two hour introduction to the internet for people who have never used it before.

Some libraries provide a venue for external trainers to come in and run longer courses on a variety of subjects, including literacy, computer skills and CV writing.

To find our what your local library has to offer, please click here.