by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
Our library has some useful databases available to local residents who have a library card. These aren’t free, unreliable things that are just out there on the internet. They’re good sources of information brought to you by the library.
Our newest resource is available only to Litchfield and Hutchinson area residents. It’s an online database of newspapers and news magazines from around the country, called America’s News. It includes the past 12 years of the Litchfield Independent Review. You can search for articles on specific subjects in our local paper or browse past issues by date. I was able to go back and easily find articles about the opening of our library building ten years ago. There are no photos or images, and you won’t find ads, classifieds, or everything that’s in the newspaper, but you will find all of the articles.
You can also search recent years of the Hutchinson Leader, the West Central Tribune, the Mankato Examiner, the Duluth News Tribune, and other Minnesota newspapers, easy to find with a link labeled “Minnesota”. If you’re looking for news from your hometown in Odessa, Texas, or your winter home in Fort Myers, Florida, or the article on your nephew in Columbia, Missouri, you can search those newspapers specifically, too, and a wide variety of others.
You can access America’s News one of two ways: You can come into the library and use the computer on the far end of our catalog computers. You’ll see a sign next to it about accessing your local newspaper and icons on the desktop for getting there. If you use the database this way, you don’t even need a library card to get into it. The other way you can get to it is through the Litchfield Library blog. On the right side of our blog, under the links to the catalog and our ebook service, you’ll find links to searching the Litchfield Independent Review and to searching the entire America’s News database. To get in this way, you’ll have to enter your library card number. But then you can access it conveniently from your home or workplace.
Another database offered by Pioneerland to our entire library system is ChiltonLibrary, an electronic version of the Chilton’s auto repair manuals. If you’re a do-it-yourself person when it comes to your car or truck, this is a good way to find step-by-step repair instructions, maintenance schedules from the manufacturer, and wiring diagrams. You choose your year, make, and model, and then you can see what information is available for that vehicle. This is another database that you can either use in the library without a library card or sign into from your own computer if you have a Pioneerland library card. You can find it by going to the Pioneerland catalog, iii.pioneerland.lib.mn.us, choosing “other resources”, and scrolling down to ChiltonLibrary.com, a green button.
Finally, Powerspeak Languages is another database you can find on that same page of the Pioneerland website, a little bit above the Chilton link. It’s an online program you can use to learn Spanish, French, German, Mandarin Chinese, or English for Spanish-speakers. It’s again the same to access it: at the library without a library card or from home with a Pioneerland library card. You create an account so that you can track your progress and get back into the lessons where you left off. If you’ve always wanted to learn German or you’re planning a trip to Paris, give it a try.
I believe that our library should give you access to local information, and I know that many of us like the convenience of getting information from home, no trip to the library required. I hope you’ll take advantage of these resources to look things up in our local paper or other local papers around the country, find out how to fix your transmission, or study a language.