So, the Summer Reading Club is over and the new school year has begun. For most students, the school year includes homework and projects and studying. It can all be a bit overwhelming. Well, the Denton Public Library is here for them. Reference librarians can answer questions and lead students to useful resources; Interlibrary Loan allows students to request almost any book, audio, or video they need; and the library is a great environment for studying. But perhaps the best way the library can help is through its electronic resources, specifically the homework help resources.
I will focus on three resources that we classify under Homework, but first I’d like to point out that the library provides access to hundreds of online resources and databases that can assist in study and research. Our Periodicals databases, such as Masterfile Premier and Academic Search Premier, make available thousands of full-text magazine and journal articles. Our Literature resources, such as Literature Resource Center, include biographies of authors and poets, encyclopedia articles, and literary criticism. I cannot adequately describe in this post what the Denton Public Library has available. Peruse the list by going to www.dentonlibrary.com and clicking on the Research Tools button towards the middle of the screen. This reveals a list of subject links, and clicking on a subject link shows the electronic resources available for that subject.
Now to get back on track; here are three very useful items under the Homework subject link.
Brainfuse is a general studying tool, and can be found under the link Live Homework Help. It includes skills practice, tests to help students determine which majors and careers they might be interested in, and flashcard-type reviews for academic subjects and standardized tests students might need to prepare for. It also has an Adult Learners section with, among other things, computer help and links to tutorials, career and resume-writing help, a writing lab, and help for GED and citizenship tests.
But the most useful features of Brainfuse are live online help from tutors and other experts, and the virtual meeting rooms that students can use for collaborating on group projects and discussing schoolwork.
Find a Topic is a resource linking students to newspapers and other publications from throughout the United States. Students are first presented with links of general topics, such as “health” and “international issues.” Clicking on a general subject link reveals more specific subjects related to the larger topic, such as “medical research” and “nutrition.” Under these are specific links for detailed subjects like “genetically modified food” that lead to lists of full-text articles on that very specific subject. The lists often include articles that are current to within a day or two.
Explora is a group of three databases. One is designed for elementary students, one for middle school, and one for high school. These databases are similar to Find a Topic in their directory format, making browsing through subjects easy. Simply click on subject links that become more and more specific. Both titles also allow students to search specific subject terms of their choosing, but Explora makes this much easier. The results Explora finds are from a wider range of sources – popular magazines, academic journals, reference tools, books, and occasionally newspapers. The results list includes icons next to each item listed, indicating which type of source the information is from.
All of these study tools are available at all three Denton Public Library branches. We realize, though, that it isn’t always convenient to come into the library to study and use library resources, so we’ve made these databases available for people with library cards to use from home – 24 hour-a-day access to a world of information.
So, students of all ages, study on! And remember that you can always rely on the Denton Public Library for help to keep you learning.
Fred – South Branch