What is "lifelong learning?"

It’s been described this way:

Imagine a school without grades or tests, a place where the only prerequisites are an active mind and a desire to learn in a congenial atmosphere. Its dedicated students form a community of learners who design their own curriculum according to their own needs and interests, people whose common bonds are intellectual curiosity and the experience of their generation. They share opinions, knowledge, and expertise with humor, creativity and mutual respect. When classes are over, the lively discussions don't end. The talk spills out to the hallways, the cafeteria, or the student lounge. Learning is obviously lots of fun.

What is the age range of BLL members?

We welcome adults of all ages who are able to attend classes during weekday hours. Most of our members are of retirement age. Many continue to work part time or even full time.

What is "peer-to-peer learning"?

Peer-to-peer learning means that people of similar ages and experiences share their interests and knowledge with each other. Members with passions for particular subjects share their love of the topics through teaching in our program. Some retired and active faculty from Brooklyn College or other colleges have found teaching a Brooklyn Lifelong Learning class to be an especially interesting and gratifying experience.

How do I join?

Please visit our Join page.

What is the cost?

The annual fee of $85 is the only basic cost. A few classes may have additional expenses. A watercolor painting workshop, for example, may require materials or supplies. Reading/literature class participants may prefer to purchase rather than borrow books. Travel Program activities are on a cost-per-trip basis.

Can I join Brooklyn Lifelong Learning at any time?

Yes. Although the fall semester starts in September and the spring semester in February, not all classes and lectures start at the beginning of the term. Many start at other times throughout the semester. The BLL annual membership fee is less than one would pay for a single course in most other adult programs, making membership cost effective at any time.

How does Brooklyn Lifelong Learning keep its cost so low?

One tenet of Brooklyn Lifelong Learning is to keep the cost of the program as low as possible. This helps make it available to people in all economic situations. We are able to do this by relying on volunteers to teach classes, manage the program, and conduct almost all other functions of BLL. There are only two paid employees, one full-time and one part-time administrative assistant. In addition to their salaries, other expenses include room rentals, postage and printing.

How do I register for classes?

For most classes, the "registration" process is simplicity itself: As a member, you merely walk into the classroom and sign the attendance sheet. For the few classes in which space is limited, pre-registration is required, as indicated in the catalog. This is done by placing your name on a list in the Brooklyn Lifelong Learning office, 3160 Boylan Hall.

At what time of year do people join?

You can join at any time. Although the fall semester starts in September and the spring semester in February, not all classes and lectures start at the beginning of the term. Many start at other times throughout the semester. Summer classes, when they are offered, begin in June or July.

How many courses may I take?

There is no limit. You may take as many as you can fit into your schedule.

What if I don't like a class?

If a class doesn't meet your expectations, simply do not return for the remaining sessions. You may wish to try another class scheduled for the same time slot. The BLL program is somewhat informal and most instructors welcome new participants at any time in the semester.

Do you offer trips?

There are two kinds of trips offered: those that include transportation and those in which the member travels to the site of interest on his or her own. For both, slots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Travel Committee plans transportation-inclusive trips. Some are local day trips and others are multi-day journeys involving travel to locations as far as Canada, New Orleans or Mount Rushmore. Notices are mailed to members about upcoming trips and the costs for participating.

Museum Walks and Talks is a series of docent-led tours of museums in the city. Members travel to the museum independently. Offerings are listed in the course catalog.

Are you connected to the cultural programs at Brooklyn College?

There are many college-run events taking place on campus such as Wolfe Institute lectures, concerts and films. When you join BLL, you become part of the college community and may attend most of these events. During our regular semesters, a weekly email (“This Week at BLL”) is sent to members, which lists events of interest in BLL and on campus. The information is also posted on the bulletin board outside the BLL office at 3160 Boylan Hall.

Do you have a fitness center that members can use? A pool?

Community memberships may be purchased for use of the new West Quad Center which contains a pool, a gym and other recreational facilities. A fee schedule with both full and discounted rates, including a special rate available for those over 62 is available at http://www.brooklyncollegeathletics.com/sports/2010/2/22/Fee%20Schedule.aspx

How can I get to the Brooklyn College Campus?

Please visit the Travel and Directions page.

What about parking?

Street parking is available but is very limited. There are metered spaces on Bedford Avenue, Campus Road, Glenwood Road, Nostrand Avenue and East 26 Street. Most meters allow parking for up to six hours. There is a pay parking garage at the Target store at Nostrand Avenue and Avenue H. 

How does one become an instructor?

Please visit our Volunteer page.

How are classes chosen?

Generally, classes are proposed by the prospective instructor, but if you have an idea for a class you would like to see, suggest it to the Program Committee using the Course Proposal Form on our Volunteer page. They may seek someone who can conduct such a class.

Can I take books out of the Library?

Yes. Your BLL membership card can be used to borrow books from the college library. The library also offers access to computer terminals and a pleasant reading room-lounge area on the main floor.

Can I be a member of BLL if I have no connection to Brooklyn College?

You are welcome to make BLL your first connection to this campus or any other. There are no educational prerequisites for BLL. Members range from those with advanced degrees to those who might not have been able to go to college before and want to take advantage of the opportunity now.

Is it true that you don’t send a current catalog until I join?

We restrict access to current catalogs to ensure that everyone who attends our classes is a member. But you can view a descriptive list of current courses here, along with a list of class titles showing the day of the week each is offered. 

I may be interested in auditing a Brooklyn College course.  How do I do that?

BLL offerings are separate from the course offerings of Brooklyn College. The Registrar handles requests and arrangements to audit Brooklyn College courses. We understand that auditing is possible on a space-available basis, with permission of the instructor and the payment of a fee to the college.