[Note to Visitors: We’ve been asked to remind librarian visitors that you can cut and paste blog entries to use on your own local library website - of course!]
There’s a reason libraries celebrate Library Card Sign-up Month every September… With the immediate school supplies out of the way, and the reality of homework and research papers setting in, it’s time for students to get the “smartest card” and get to work.
In addition to visiting the local public library in person to check out books, use a computer or ask for help from a librarian…students can also visit libraries online 24/7 to get great research resources.
The 2010 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study finds that public libraries continue to expand their technology offerings to communities nationwide. The study finds that:
- Virtually all libraries provide free access to computers and the Internet;
- 95 percent of libraries provide free access to databases that help with school research, job-seeking, health information, and more;
- 88 percent offer online homework resources (more on this later); and
- 73 percent offer email, chat or text help from librarians.
Just like library staff select and buy books that everyone can then check out for free, state and local libraries also buy online databases patrons can use for free with their library cards.
Not too long ago, I asked members of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Great Web Sites for Kids Committee, which evaluates websites to find excellent resources for children, to recommend a few favorite subscription resources that many libraries offer.
Here are five of them:
Grolier Online Encyclopedia
Grolier was chosen by the ALA Notable Software committee two years in a row as an excellent subscription website. It has so much more than just encyclopedia articles – including video, photos, audio and website links. Grolier is very user-friendly and engages users so they want to return to it again and again.
Infotrac/Infotrac Junior Edition/Kids Infobits (Gale Cengage Learning)
Consisting of articles from magazines, journals, and newspapers, as well as links and transcripts to NPR broadcasts, students will find these useful for research. Many articles are available in full-text. The various editions provide appropriate resources for each age level.
In addition to McGraw-Hill’s Encyclopedia of Science and Technology, this site also offers biographies, photos, videos and up-to-date research articles. You can search or browse through this website. Recommended for middle and high school students.
A good choice for new Web searchers. Visual and tradition searching are available. Includes Primary Search, Middle Search Plus, Funk & Wagnalls Encyclopedia, and EBSCO Animals. Recommended for upper elementary and middle school students.
World Book Online
The familiar quality and clarity of the print version of World Book also are found in the online version with the added advantage of the ability to link to “see also” and related references almost instantly. Helpful appendices include “books to read” sections on report writing, study skills, maps and photographs.
From newspapers to science fair projects to English Lit, libraries offer resources to help in almost every academic subject from kindergarten to college. These online library resources are safe, accurate, free and often available 24/7.
What is/are your favorite or recommended online resource(s) for students at your library this September? How do you get the word out about them?