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Portage Lake District Library adds to website offerings

November 24, 2010
By GARRETT NEESE Houghton Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - The Portage Lake District Library has revamped its website, adding new features such as online courses and language programs.

The library has added Universal Class, a program that allows patrons to take 500 classes from their home, including 20 home-schooling courses.

"It allows someone at home to learn everything from religion to algebra to computer classes, helping you brush up skills for the workplace or personal enrichment," said library director Shawn Leche.

Article Photos

A patron at the Portage Lake District Library checks the facility’s website. Officials recently improved the library’s online offerings including an upgrade to the website itself. (Houghton Daily Mining Gazette photo)

People can enroll in up to five courses at a time, getting six months to finish each course.

The classes include interactive with live professors and assignments including essays.

"It's quite substantive," Leche said.

Another new addition is MANGO, a foreign-language database with 28 foreign language courses, including Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, Italian, Portuguese and Russian, as well as English as a Second Language courses.

The 70-hour courses, available in beginner or advanced levels, are accessible by logging in with a library card number.

The lessons are crafted with an eye for pronunciation and culture.

"It's taught in a very learning-friendly format," Leche said.

The library also recently added access to Ancestry Library Edition, a more powerful version of the publicly available site at

Leche said the new features are part of his goal to "bring the library into your living room."



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