What a deal: Microsoft IT Academy courses free through library

My son recently received a unicycle for his birthday. The circus arts are encouraged at his school so he’s been practicing in the gym for months. The driveway is already filled with ramps for skateboards, scooters and bicycles and he wanted one more conveyance to ride off a jump. The daredevil gene runs a mile wide in my family as is evident by the monthly bills from Swedish. The kids did not inherit this from me.

After only a few tries, my husband also has mastered the unicycle. My daughter smartly declined the offer to try as she was in a corner practicing her karate.

I failed miserably on the first attempt, but I’ll try again, most likely when nobody is looking. Life is short and there is still so much to learn.

In order to spare my limbs, I’ve decided to hone other skills to keep current in technology and business. In other words, I’d rather strain my eyes in front of a computer screen than strain my neck in a spectacular unicycle crash.

Due to a generous partnership between the Washington State Library and Microsoft, and support from the Legislature, 427 public, college and tribal libraries in the state are able to provide courses to people in the state of Washington from the Microsoft IT Academy. These courses are free through June 2015.

Information and access to the IT Academy can be found on our database page, kcls.org/databases. As a first time user, you will need to enter your library card and create a free Microsoft Live ID. You can also use an existing account if you already have one.

The courses cover things from digital literacy foundation skills to advanced networking and business skills. You will not need to purchase a text book or other resources. There is a free digital textbook, a test bank, as well as e-learning and lesson plans. These are helpful, but not required.

There are many benefits to taking advantage of this training. The free training will help guide you toward industry recognized certifications. The job market in the 21st century is rapidly evolving and extra training will prepare job seekers to adapt in this changing environment. The library is at the forefront of this endeavor to ensure free and equal access to all. There may even be an office out there that requires unicycle skills.

I’ve signed up for a few courses and look forward to learning new skills. The classes might cut in to my unicycle practice, but I’ll bring a helmet just in case.


Darcy Brixey is the teen services librarian at the Bellevue Library. She’d like to tell you she loves to read, but it’s an expectation of the job.



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