Toolbox 30: Free Courses Through My Local Library

This post was written for the Author Toolbox Blog Hop where we share our new discoveries on the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, and blogging tips. Posted every third Wednesday of the month. For rules and sign-up click here.


My life is quiet right now. No doubt, many of you feel the same way. Boredom was my enemy until I discovered my local library’s website linked to free courses. I’m a lifelong learner. So yay for me!

How I got there.

It may not be the same for you, but here’s what I did. On my library’s main menu, I clicked on the Research tab. That led to the Gale Courses. From there I chose what I wanted: Research Methods for Writers, and Mystery Writing. That was where my heart was but there were many more to choose from.

In my world of writing and my day-to-day life, I want quick direct answers. I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole and spend hours digging through information for one fact when I’m only touching on information in passing. My goal is to avoid infodumps. For me and for my readers.

I retrieved the fact to keep to the truth and that’s where it ended for me.

And it turned out that sometimes my quick in-and-put plan failed. If anyone has read Minor Error, you’d know what I mean. My facts were not as accurate as they should have been. Eventually, I moved it from the sci-fi genre to the sci-fantasy genre because I loved the images I created as inaccurate as there were.

The Course Pointed out that:

  • I needed to make a plan. (Mind-maps work well for this.)
  • I should determine what exactly I need to know to figure out where I need to go.
  • I might start with an internet search and land up anywhere.

I tried:

Google Scholar, and Google Books

And landed up:

Now that I’ve stuck my toe in, I know I’ll be more diligent. I want my readers to enjoy what I’ve imagined and not get kick out of the story because I was sloppy. Bottom line: I will still make mistakes because I’m human, not because I’m lazy.

How deep do you dive-in when seeking facts? Any links you’d care to share?

34 responses to “Toolbox 30: Free Courses Through My Local Library

  1. That’s great about your library offering those courses and resources! I don’t like research. I find it too time consuming and I have a hard time refraining from that rabbit hole. Unconsciously or not, I choose to write memoir – non-fiction where I “own” the facts; no research needed. 🙂

  2. That’s great about the library’s offerings!

    I’ve read that a number of authors, when writing, will often just make a note to go back and research something so they don’t get pulled out of the creative flow.

  3. You’re so lucky your library is offering those courses. Great post. 🙂

  4. I had no idea libraries would offer that. I’m going to see if mine does! My savior lately is Kindle Unlimited. I’m powering through their books.

  5. I admit I should use my library more. It’s very cool that yours is offering up the free classes!

  6. I do like to dig deep in my facts. I use a great deal of online research. That’s wonderful about the free library classes! How’s the new house by the way?

  7. That’s a great resource your library has.

    One thing that helps me is Google Earth. Then I can see the layout of any city or place and know I’ll get it right. Up until there’s road construction of course.

  8. I’ve been enjoying some of the free courses my library offers as well. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  9. Great post. And how wonderful that our libraries are finding ways to help us even when they can’t let us inside!

  10. Libraries are the best!! They’re an institution I am really proud to be associated with and do so much good for the community. The research you’ve been able to do here sounds fascinating. As ever, thank you for sharing! : )

  11. I don’t know why I never thought to look at online courses through the library, but that is amazing!

    Unfortunately, our local library doesn’t have any. I will definitely search some out, though!

  12. I could do research indefinitely. At some point, you just have to call a halt to it.

    Having a Master in Library Science is both a blessing and a curse. So is being a lawyer. Or a fiction writer. 🙂

    Anyway, thanks for these! (I think …) 😀

  13. ooooo, online libraries. I see myself falling down many rabbit holes with this list. 🙂

  14. Ronel Janse van Vuuren

    I write fantasy, so facts aren’t that big a deal. I use a lot of folklore as the basis of my stories, which means a lot of research (I posted 26 folklore posts in April full of links and research if you’re interested).

    Ronel catching up for Feb Author Toolbox day Writing Characters: A Case Study

  15. I did not know that either, but good info. Great post.

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