It’s 7:58 p.m. on a Monday and you finally decide to look at the research assignment you were assigned a week ago, when suddenly you realize your works cited page (in MLA format) is due tomorrow. You need to find some sources for your assignment. No worries, you think, you will just visit the library and find a few books, but after checking the hours of the Main Library, you find they close in 2 minutes. At this point you might have started to panic, but do not hit the panic button quite yet.
That's when you notice a magical word, Research, near the top of the SJCPL website. Under that heading, you find a link to databases and articles. Databases are searchable and provide information from published works like journals, magazines and newspapers. The information contained in these resources is from experts and has been checked for accuracy, so you won't have to try to sift through one million websites that a search engine found for you to find a good source of information. Even when our phyical locations are closed, the library website is open 24/7; think of it like Nick’s Patio without the coffee and pancakes. Yum, pancakes. I'm easily distracted by things like pancakes and doughnuts, but I have more to tell you.
Recently, I’ve had a few homeowork related questions and the opportunity to talk to a few groups about some of SJCPL's electronic resources however, I wished I could get the word out to so many others. I thought a blog post was necessary. These resources are accessible just by typing in your library card number and last name from home and they are free! If you are working on a homework assignment, you might be particularly interested in the resources under the Student and Teacher Resource Center. Here are some examples of how you might use some of these resources:
- If you are working on a report for Black History Month and need information about the first African-American female pilot, Bessie Coleman, check out Biography In Context. You can search by the name of the person and find information from encyclopedias, journal articles, and newspapers. The resource is updated regularly and contains many notable people including historical figures, scientists, and entertainers. This resource also includes a citation tool with each article, to help you with that works cited page.
- Maybe you need to gather information for a classroom debate arguing against recycling; try Opposing Viewpoints in Context. This database offers pro and con viewpoints on many hot social topics. It works a lot like Biography in context, in that it offers citation tools and allows you to e-mail articles to yourself.
- Need science experiment about electricity for the upcoming Science Fair? Look no further than Science in Context. This database lets you search for science related topics like electricty, but narrow your search down by experiments and yes it also includes citation tools.
- The Gale Virtual Reference Library contains ebooks, encyclopedias, and reference material, those huge, heavy books you can't check out on the 1st floor at Main. You can search a variety of topics or narrow your search to a particular reference book.
Besides the databases there are other things you have access to through the library website. If you need to log some reading time and need a book fast, check out the teen e-book and audiobooks you can download to read on your own device or read in a computer browser. Need music to study to? Try Hoopla and download popular music albums.
Of course if you have questions about any of these resources you are always welcome to visit us in-person and ask a librarian how you can get started using these resources. Until next time, good luck on those assignments.