(TNS) — Through a partnership with Alamance Community College, the Alamance County Public Library is expanding its free classes to two other library branches.

Alamance County residents interested in obtaining their General Educational Development diplomas, high school diploma equivalency, or improving their literacy can attend free classes at the May Memorial, North Park or Mebane libraries. The North Park and Mebane classes began within the last week.

Beth Snow, a literacy specialist who teaches the May Memorial class, has witnessed the impact from the class after watching 15 students come together to learn and support one another during the first semester, which began in September.

"Our students have families and lives and jobs, and they juggle all of this, and they are still making great progress," she said. "They are still able to succeed, and it's very rewarding."

The classes are free through a $50,000 Library Services and Technology Act Grant, and it's not too late for students to participate.

"That is the great thing," said Michelle Mills, ACPL associate director of community relations. "They can just pop in, and we'll send someone from ACC to test them. Just in case they are advanced or if they need more help, we would be able to pair them up with some of the others in the class."

For people who may not have finished their education and haven't been to a school campus in many years, it can be daunting trying to find the classroom or correct building, Mills said.

"If they are coming to the library already, and libraries are seen as a safe place and a comfortable place, then this is a fantastic option," she said.

People are more likely to participate in the class if they're library users, and these locations offer alternatives for people who may not have transportation and live away from ACC's campus.

"I hope they're able to gain their GED," Snow said, "or their high school diploma equivalency. I hope that is what happens — that is what they take away from it. They are making tremendous growth and tremendous gains toward their GED, but also in their confidence in themselves and understanding that they can do this, and they are working for this and working hard." 

©2016 Times-News (Burlington, N.C.), distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.