by Beth Cronk, Litchfield head librarian
It's back to school time! It will be quieter in the library during the school day now (except for storytimes). It might be busier after school and in the evening when students with iPads and MacBooks need WiFi to do their homework. We’ll be interested to see how that affects library traffic this fall.
The public library can be a resource for school in a number of ways beyond basic internet access. Librarians still help people find information even in this era of search-it-yourself. If you have a paper to write, whether you’re in middle school or graduate school, we can help you search for or order sources.
One of the best sources is provided by the Minnesota state library agency. It’s called ELM, the Electronic Library for Minnesota, and it can be accessed at elm4you.org. You can get to it from home or we can help you with it at the library. The website offers access to many databases of articles and encyclopedias, all high-quality, reputable sources. If you’re in college and your professor requires it, you can limit your results to peer-reviewed journals. Elementary school students can use the section especially for students their age that includes Britannica Learning Zone and Searchasaurus, a way to search elementary-age magazines, dictionaries, and encyclopedias. I have used ELM countless times for my own grad school work as well as to help library patrons. It has so much to offer.
Litchfield high school students sometimes come to us for help finding a book for a reading requirement. We are glad to help you come up with ideas for that. There are many options right here in our own building, plus we can order almost anything else you’d like to read.
Newsbank is a newspaper database that Litchfield Library subscribes to, primarily because it includes the Litchfield Independent Review in a searchable form. But it also includes current event reports that could be useful to students. This month’s include the latest articles on the Ebola outbreak, the threat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and the fighting in Gaza. A social studies student may be able to use these special collections for current events homework.
If you’re getting ready to take a college entrance exam, you could check out one of our test prep guides. We have the 2014 edition of Cracking the ACT from the Princeton Review and their 2014 edition of 11 Practice Tests for the SAT and PSAT. We also have new test prep books coming in soon for the GRE, the LSAT, the GMAT, and the nursing school entrance exams.
Parents looking for ideas for those lunchboxes could check out The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet. This has been a popular book this summer. The author of “100 Days of Real Food”, Lisa Leake, endorses it. I am completely stuck in a rut for cold lunches, so I think my kids would appreciate it if I’d check it out sometime.
And for anyone interested in our educational system and teaching, we have the book Getting Schooled by Garret Keizer. Keizer is a teacher who left the profession and then returned fourteen years later to the same school, putting him in a unique position to see what has changed in high school education in the past two decades. Critics say his writing style is very engaging and that he has some unique insights on what should be changed in our schools.
Supporting life-long learning is one of the purposes of the public library. Whether you have little ones to bring to story hour so that they can start to learn pre-reading skills, students to bring in to do homework, or sources to find for your own college paper, we’re here for you.