Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fun Science for Kids

Has your child (or children) been enjoying the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-focused activities that have been part of this year's Fizz, Boom, Read/Spark a Reaction summer reading program? If so, you/your child(ren) will want to check out Ology, the American Museum of Natural History's science website for kids.

Choose an OLogy (i.e., a topic) that focuses on subjects as diverse as anthropology, climate change and Einstein. Within each scientific subject area, you will find a number of hands-on activities, games and video/text interviews with scientists in that particular field.

Other websites that will supplement your child's science education include:

  • PBS Kids Science Games - For elementary-age children, games emphasize engineering, nature, animals and more
  • Kids.gov - Loads of online and real-world activities brought to you by various governmental departments and agencies (National Park Service, EPA, etc.)
  • Wonderville - Access more than 30 games, numerous activities and videos for free
  • BBC Schools - Find interactive science games for primary, secondary and higher-level learners (Note: Games focus on UK standards; some in Welsh)
  • Lawrence Hall of Science -Play games and have interactive, engaging experiences as you learn about all manner of science topics
Looking for apps for your tablet or smart phone? Check out reviews for science apps and games for kids on Common Sense Media.

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Access New Yorker articles from 2007+ for free

According to an article in the July 8 New York Times, the New Yorker website will offer all the articles it has published since 2007 available free for three months. After three months, you will have to pay a subscription fee (price, details to be determined).

If you're not a subscriber/want to save some money, Fauquier County Public Library has copies of the print edition dating back one year, as well as full-text access to articles from 1978+ (indexed from 1959+).

~Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Book, Movie and Media Reviews for Parents

Recently I was helping a patron looking for some good young adult books for her 13 year-old daughter. Her daughter had already devoured the Hunger Games trilogy (books and movies), and mom was looking for something similar, but "not too violent." After showing her some of our book lists and staff recommendations, I mentioned that if she couldn't read the book herself before allowing her daughter to do so (always an option I mention, but not everyone has the time!), she might want to try Common Sense Media.

Since I work in a library (and am a librarian), I usually use Common Sense Media, which contains reviews based on age appropriateness and learning potential, more for movies and apps versus books, but the site has some features that parents (and educators) will find helpful.

For example, when it comes to finding books for my daughter, I normally look at book reviews in publications like School Library Journal -- or better yet, go down the hall and ask Jennifer Schultz, our Youth Services Librarian for recommendations (she always has great picks for us!). However, the thing I like about Common Sense Media's Reviews is that they include a "What parents need to know" chart (see example below), which quickly points out hot buttons like violence, sex and language, etc., giving me fair warning. It also includes educational value, positive role models, etc., areas that I think are sometimes given short shrift when compared to something like bad language.


In the example above, for the Glass Sentence, you can click on the "See full details" link for each area, such as the positive role models and get details such as:


I also like how their user reviews are broken down by what Parents Say and what Kids Say. I usually look at these reviews (especially those written by kids) if I'm undecided.

Bottom line, when my daughter, who is only ten, wants to delve into the latest book aimed at teens (gulp!), I have found Common Sense Media's reviews to be immensely helpful. I hope you will, too!

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Home Improvement Resources

Need ideas for your next home improvement project? We have online resources from the library and the web to get you started.

Library Resources

These online resources are available anywhere with your Fauquier County library card.
  • Download magazines to your device or computer. Titles include Do It Yourself, Dwell, Handyman, and House Beautiful.
  • For more magazine articles, search our Home Improvement Collection for articles on home improvement, architecture, and interior design.

Recommended Websites

  • DIY Network - Instructional articles and videos from the television network. (Unfortunately, a lot of ads.)
  • Federal Trade Commission: Homes - Articles to help you save money, conserve energy, and avoid scams during the home improvement process.
  • Going Green Publications - Information from the federal government about energy efficiency topics.
  • Hometalk - Hometalk is a social network for home improvement. You can browse homeowners' projects and, if you choose to register, submit questions to the community. Since most contributors aren't professionals, you might want to consult a second source before trying anything complex.
  • This Old House - Instructional articles and videos from the creators of the television series. This website does have a lot of ads.
  • Learn DIY Skills on Youtube - This article from the website MakeUseOf lists popular Youtube channels for home improvement videos.
You can also visit our branches to browse our collection of home improvement books, magazines, and DVDs.

Becky @ Warrenton

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

e-Resource of the Month: Books & Authors


Summer days, summer reading. Since I'm all caught up on the doings of some of my favorite detectives (Ruth Galloway and Jimmy Perez, I hope you're back soon!) and have some beach time in the near future, time for me to figure out what to read next.

Aside from the incredibly helpful lists of "read alikes" provided by library staff, I often consult Books & Authors, which provides expert recommendations as well as a number of search and browsing options to help me find my next great read. Features of this e-resource, available anytime with your FCPL library card, include:
  • Browsing by title, series title, author or genre;
  • The Who? What? Where? When? search, which allows you to search by character, subject, location/setting and/or time period;
  • A My Reading Room feature that allows you to create, maintain and share lists of your favorite authors or titles as well as your own book reviews.

Find Books & Authors on our Articles/Databases page (under Literature & e-books) as well as on our Readers' Tools page, which includes links to library staff picks, read-alikes, best seller lists and more. 


~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.





Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Get schooled this summer

Thinking about taking an online course this summer? You may have heard the acronym "MOOC" tossed around in discussions about online courses (MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course), or have heard of companies like edX or Coursera. As more renown institutions (MIT, Stanford, University of Michigan, etc.) around the world are putting their courses online, many for free, a tool like SlideRule will help you find the course that's right for you.

SlideRule, which has indexed courses from almost one hundred providers, allows you to narrow down your choices by subject (Law, Engineering, etc.), provider (Coursera, Khan Academy, etc.) or university (Yale, Princeton, etc.). You can filter your results to those that provide you with a verified certificate, are "always on," or that use a particular teaching method (video vs. audio lecture, for example). You can then sort your results by start date, fees (free will be listed first) or ratings.

Subscribe to the SlideRule Blog and you will learn about free online courses available in the upcoming week.

For more articles on MOOCs and the state of online education in general, such as this recent article from US News & World Report, use your Fauquier County Public Library card to access the Find It Virginia PowerSearch or any of the library's magazine/journal/newspaper databases such as InfoTrac Newsstand or America's Newspapers from Newsbank.

Whether as a supplement to your traditional "bricks and mortar" education, for career enhancement or just for fun, online courses can provide you with flexible learning opportunities this summer and beyond.

~ Alison, Electronic Resources Librarian

To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Car Shopping: Recommended Resources



Looking for information before you hit the dealer lots? Check out the following resources available through the Fauquier County Public Library and on the web.

Purchasing an Automobile


The following web sites (listed alphabetically) provide a wealth of information about new and used vehicles:
In addition to these general buying guides, there are other automotive resources that will be of interest to purchasers and owners.

Auto Repair and Owner Manuals
The library carries the Chilton manuals. Those available for checkout are mostly located in the 629 area of the non-fiction section.

On the Web, only a few sites offer free repair information and resources. (Chilton, Haynes, etc., charge fees for access to their repair manuals.)

Energy Efficiency and Fuel Economy
The following web sites provide information about vehicle efficiency and fuel economy.

Becky -- Reference Librarian


To learn more about the Fauquier County Public Library's collection, events or programs, visit us on Facebook, Twitter or online.