New library service provides free education, job retraining resources


By Russ Van Arsdale, Executive Director, Northeast CONTACT
Posted Oct. 20, 2013, at 11:06 a.m.

You’ve been laid off from your job, and there’s no provision for retraining.

You don’t have a high school diploma and you want to take the General Education Development (GED) test, but you can’t afford the tutorial courses you’ve seen advertised.

You want to enroll in a college or university, but want to brush up on your study skills or review some high school courses.

You’re a recent immigrant to the United States and want to learn more about becoming a citizen.

These are all reasons you might use a service that’s just gone online, courtesy of the Maine State Library. It’s called Learning Express Library, and it can teach a lot of people a lot of things.

A smart place to start is a 16-minute video tutorial that outlines the navigation and use of the site. It also gives a quick look at the resources that can help job seekers, students, members of the military and others find what they’re looking for.

The information is arranged in groupings called centers. The Adult Learning Center has tutorials on the content users will need to know to get ready for the GED exam. Once a user is ready, he or she can take practice tests, see the scores, and get detailed answers to questions answered incorrectly. Based on your test scores, the site might recommend other areas of study.

There’s a personalized, secure storage area called My Center, where you can store tests you’ve completed or partially completed. You can also store tutorials you’re working on.

There’s a two-step process to get to Learning Express Library. First, you navigate to MARVEL!, Maine’s Virtual Library ( From there, you’ll find a link to Learning Express. You can visit that site and check out its offerings without registering. However, to take the tutorials and tests, you have to register with your name and a password.

Learning Express LLC is an educational technology company that’s been around since 1995. It has 4,000 libraries, 5,000 schools and 1,200 colleges as clients.

Learning Express Library has been available at public libraries in Maine for a couple of years. Reference librarians such as Christy Coombs at the Bangor Public Library will be happy to help patrons get started, as will staff people at libraries across Maine. “It’s a wonderful database,” she told me Friday.

Her library offers computer classes; find out more at the library website,, or call 947-8336. For help with connectivity issues or questions, call the Maine State Library at 287-5620.

Consumer Forum is a collaboration of the Bangor Daily News and Northeast CONTACT, Maine’s all-volunteer, nonprofit consumer organization. For assistance with consumer-related issues, including consumer fraud and identity theft, or for information, write Consumer Forum, P.O. Box 486, Brewer 04412, visit or


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