This Summer, Learn Online (for Free)

Here at YPL, we have a number of options for online learning that are not only geared toward learners of all ages and interests. They're also free.

For instance, we have Gale Courses in professional and personal development, as well as tech skills. The courses generally run for six weeks, and some are accredited by national organizations. 

There are also resources like Learning Express, Mango Languages, and Britannica Academic, all of which are excellent in their own right.

(Note that you need a Yonkers Public Library card in order to access some of these resources.)

But there's another free online learning resource out there that we really like that's as wide-ranging, easy to use, and internet-y as any you'll find anywhere.

The resource is called Crash Course, and it offers relatively brief video lessons hosted by enthusiastic, straight-talking experts on topics ranging from Artificial Intelligence to Theater to Engineering to Biology to Film Criticism ... you get the picture. There's a lot of stuff to choose from. 

(And a lot of people are using Crash Course: its YouTube channel has well over 15 million subscribers.)

Crash Courses

Crash Course is the brainchild of brothers John and Hank Green, who have been entertaining and inspiring people, online and off, for years. John is the author of bestselling YA books like The Fault in Our Stars, Looking for Alaska, and Turtles All the Way Down. Hank is a science educator and YouTube commentator. Collectively, they're the Vlogbrothers, with millions of followers across a bunch of different platforms. 

Consider one course, chosen at random -- World Mythology -- that offers a snapshot of how Crash Course works. With more than 40 videos on topics with titles like Freud and Jung, Witches and Hags, Mythical Mountains, Ragnarok, Pantheons, Creation Myths, and more, World Mythology provides hours of smart, unpretentious instruction on a topic that spans all sorts of disciplines: history, sociology, literature, spirituality, etc.

There are YouTube channels for Crash Course Kids, and Crash Course en Español, too.

This summer, if you find yourself tiring of all that "fun in the sun" stuff, check out Crash Course, or any of the online learning resources available here on Of course, all of these resources are available year-round, too. So dive in, anytime. Your brain will thank you.


Ben Cosgrove is a Librarian at YPL's Riverfront branch. He's currently reading Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks, by Patrick Radden Keefe.