Library Provided Research Options

People always look to libraries for research assistance. They, after all, have lots of books! Beyond the books, however, we have many other resources for you to use, found on our Premium Websites page. Are you looking for a little more than a Google search result, and can’t find a library book to meet your needs? If so, this is the list for you! Bet you thought I would only talk about books, right?

Basic Research

  • Gale: Most of the databases listed on our Premium Websites page are linked to Gale. You can find research on anything from world history to home improvement. For students in need of scholarly journal articles for school projects, this website is a necessity.
  • EBSCOhost: This one is similar to Gale because it provides a lot of great resources for papers. The difference is that our subscription to Ebsco only gives you access to digital books, rather than articles or essays.
  • Kid Infobits: I share this one a lot with younger library customers. If you are looking for basic information on plants, animals, historical events and other basics, this one is helpful. This site is also from Gale, but it’s worth mentioning in a separate bullet because the reading level targets a younger audience.
  • Literati: This resource is available under “Services” instead of the Premium Websites page. In addition to provide online research options, Literati has an “Find a Teacher” feature that allows you to ask a person questions online and receive personal help for finding the answers and research you need.

Learn to Research

  • Universal Class: Use this site if you need help learning research best practices. It’s not a research resource itself, but you can use it to learn about a variety of topics. It even has a class called “Basic Research Skills” that will help you figure out research beyond the help provided in this blog post.

Historical Research

  • Ancestry.com: If you want to learn more about your family history, someone else’s, or just want to explore the genealogical information out there, this is a great site to use. The limitation is you can only use it inside the library, not from home.
  • HeritageQuest: This one provides many of the same resources as Ancestry, with the added plus of being accessible from home!
  • America’s Newspapers, America’s Obituaries & Death Notices, Virginian Pilot: All powered by Newsbank Inc., these sites allow you to search newspapers online. Find obituaries and death notices as far back as 1860, and general newspaper results from 1985 to now.

Local Research

Now that you know what to use, all that remains is deciding what research!

Recording Family Memories at the Library

About twenty years ago I took a microphone and cassette recorder and sat down with my mom and grandmother to ask them questions about their lives. My mom talked about when she was a child and witnessed her house burn down in the middle of the night. My grandmother talked about her marriage to my Grandfather, how he was always so fun loving and how she wished she had not been so serious during that time. (He died early, leaving her with a twelve year old still to raise.) It’s on my “To Do” list to convert that analog tape to a digital file so my kids can hear those voices.

It’s easier now than ever to record these precious family memories.  Anyone with a smart phone has a portable recording device with them at all times.  It’s our goal to help patrons take advantage of this technology with the Record Your Life Story program, happening September 7th at Russell Memorial Library.  Patrons will learn how to download and use the free recording software Audacity.  We will also demonstrate the StoryCorps.me app which allows people to record and save their interviews on their own “community” online.  Interviews saved with the StoryCorps.me app are also archived online at the American Folklife Center at the United States Library of Congress.

We will continue the program throughout the fall by offering a series of recording sessions. Library staff will facilitate the recording of a thirty minute interview patrons conduct with a family member.  Patrons will be provided with a set of potential interview questions beforehand and will be given a CD recording of the interview when it is done.  Our goal is to archive these interviews in our own CPL Community on the StoryCorps.me website and to expand the project to include other stories of historical interest to the Hampton Roads area.

A clean, well-lighted place: co-working at the library

"focus" by dkalo is licensed under CC BY SA 2.0

“focus” by dkalo is licensed under CC BY- SA 2.0

I’ve freelanced as a writer, editor, and even mystery shopper, and finding my focus was often the most difficult part of any assignment. My messy home office held too many distractions, and my local coffee shop could be noisy and crowded. At the library, though, I got more done in less time alongside others like me looking for a clean and quiet place to work. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was co-working when, well, co-working wasn’t cool. Who knew?

Today, co-working spaces are a trending option for anyone working outside the cubicle. With resources like WiFi, printers, fax machines, and copiers, co-working spaces are a productive refuge for freelancers, entrepreneurs, and telecommuters. What’s more, co-working spaces attract like-minded individuals to network and share ideas. Although fee-based co-working spaces can be found in Hampton Roads, the Chesapeake Public Library (CPL) serves as a similar resource at no or minimal cost to library customers. Continue reading “A clean, well-lighted place: co-working at the library”

Antediluvian Artifacts and Dollo’s Law

DSCN3636
Recycled

In thrift stores and at yard sales it’s not unusual to find clunky, old, wooden jewelry boxes with velour-lined drawers.  Nobody uses these anymore.  They are obsolete. But, if you go on www.Pinterest.com and type “jewelry box makeover,” you can see the many clever ways people have spruced up these old dinosaurs.

Continue reading “Antediluvian Artifacts and Dollo’s Law”