Thursday, December 20, 2007

Memory Boosters

A Newsweek magazine story earlier this month focused on the field of brain health, specifically memory recall. It reported that not only does physical exercise keep the blood flowing to the brain, it can jumpstart the brain to grow new nerve cells. By regularly engaging in the right activities, you can increase your memory, improve your problem-solving skills and boost your creativity. You can keep your brain in shape and have fun at the same time with Games for the Brain. This site offers users the chance to try their hand at a number of online brain twisters, including Chinese Checkers, Trivia Nut, Guess the Flag and more. The Masterpieces game is especially fun for art buffs -- art history and brain boosting exercise in one shot. Best of all, you won't feel too guilty after spending time playing these games. They are, after all, educational.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Hopefully you're already aware that you can access full-text journals and articles through the library's various subscription databases. For folks who simply prefer "Googling" or searching other large search engines versus specific databases, however, you can now access trusted resources via The web site features over 29 million articles which are searchable by keyword and browseable by subject or publication title. These articles/links are embedded in search engines such as Google, and Yahoo. So if you do a search on a topic and see a link that includes an article on, you'll be able to access the complete article for free. All you need to do is choose your library (Bealeton, John Marshall and Warrenton libraries are all listed) and enter in you library card number.

New to the Collection Lists Updated

Check out the latest updates to our New to the Collection section of the online catalog (OPAC). Most of these lists (New Fiction, New Mysteries, etc.) are updated monthly. In some instances (Nuevos Libros en Espanol for example), the lists are updated on a quarterly basis. The latest Non Fiction list includes technology-related titles for seniors using Windows Vista as well as MySpace for Moms and Dads. Also, just in time for the holidays, Ex-Etiquette for Holidays and Other Family Celebrations.

Improve Your Vocabulary, Improve Lives

There is an addictive new vocabulary game on the Internet at Basically you test your knowledge of words and for each correct answer, FreeRice (the sister site of donates 20 grains of rice through the United Nations World Food Program. What level of vocabulary will you achieve?

Check out related library materials:

Thursday, December 6, 2007

For the Birds

Along with toxic toys, now is the time to turn your attention to the Audubon Christmas Bird Count (CBC), the oldest and largest citizen science event in the world. The count runs Dec. 14 through Jan. 5.

Guide to Toxic Toys

Before Santa (or Mom and Dad) decide to give little Suzy that Go Diego Go backpack, they may want to first check the database of toxic toys. The database includes test results for more than 1,200 toys and children's products and provides an overall product rating -- low, medium or high. Parents can search by toy name or browse by brand or type (construction toys, for example). The site also includes a list of best and worst toys.

Things to note:
  • With much fanfare (I read about it in yesterday's Washington Post), the site was just unveiled 12/5/07, and is thus experiencing heavy traffic. Be prepared for site delays during times of peak Internet usage.

  • The levels are not intended to correspond to levels known to cause health effects. Rather, they are meant to indicate whether these hazardous materials are in the toy and to provide an approximation of the concentration of the material in the toy surface.

  • If your toy isn't in the database, and you'd like them to test it for you, just view their list and cast your vote or nominate your toy. The site claims that they will test the most requested toys weekly.

  • At first you might be under the impression that in order to view any of the information on toys, the site requires you to sign in. When I first started poking around, I was presented with a form to fill out - "By providing your name and address, we can keep you up to date on opportunities to influence state, national and corporate policies on chemicals in toys, so that children's products are healthy for all kids and families." However, I just hit the back button and was able to browse toys by type, etc., without registering.

Friday, November 30, 2007

eResource of the Month for December: NewsBank

While many newspapers, including the Washington Post and the New York Times, have online editions of their newspapers available for free via the Internet, access often requires registration and the acceptance of targeted online advertising. In addition, in some cases the archives (articles older than say, two weeks) are only available for a fee. Now you can access the following regional and national newspapers, ad-free, including their archives, through America's Newspapers from Newsbank. All you need is your Fauquier County library card number.

Coverage includes:
  • Baltimore Sun — from 9/1990 - current
  • New York Times — from 1/2000 - current (includes the New York Times Book Review and the New York Times Magazine sections)
  • Philadelphia Inquirer — from 1981 - current
  • Richmond Times Dispatch — from 8/19/1985 - current
  • Washington Post — from 1977 - current
  • Washington Times — from 1990 - current
The library's subscription also includes access to America's News Magazines, which covers U.S. and international news, business, lifestyle, entertainment, sports, and science and technology from familiar magazines such as TIME, U.S. News & World Report, People Weekly, Fortune, Popular Science and Sports Illustrated. In many cases, access includes articles from as far back as the early 1990s.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Health Wise

Gain Knowledge...
People frequently consult the library's reference sources for information on specific diseases and illnesses. Along with reference resources and items to check out, the library's Web site, specifically the Adult Services page, lists frequently used Health and Medicine Web sites that you may want to bookmark. If you have a library card, you can log in to the Find It Virginia database and search for articles within the Health and Wellness Resource Center and Alternative Health Module. This module includes an online medical encyclopedia, a drug and herb finder, health news and even a directory of health organizations. Find It Virginia can be accessed from the library's Web site under Find Information > Databases.

Share Knowledge...
I recently came across a very handy tool brought to you by the U.S. Surgeon General, called My Family Health Portrait. The web site allows you to create a personalized family health history report that you can use share with other family members and/or your healthcare professional.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Keep Track of What You've Read

Want to review titles you checked out from the library? You can choose to track your circulation history by subscribing to the library's Reading History feature. In doing so, you agree to allow the library's automated system to maintain a list of items you have checked out since subscribing to the Reading History service.

Please be aware that library staff does not have access to your reading history -- this is a feature only available when you create an online account -- but with an appropriate court order, it may be possible for law enforcement officials to gain access (under the U.S. Patriot Act) to your reading history without your permission. If this concerns you, you may not wish to subscribe to Reading History. For more information on the confidentiality of library patron records, click here.

To subscribe/opt-in to Reading History:

  • Log into your account

  • Click on the Reading History button

  • Click on the Opt In button

From this point forward, all items you check out will be recorded in your account and will display in the order of checkout. You may opt out at any time or remove any or all titles from your reading history. To delete entries, mark the box beside each item and then select Delete Marked. To delete all entries, select Delete All. To opt out, you will be required to delete all entries before selecting Opt Out.

Oxford Reference Online Updated

Oxford Reference Online, "the world's most trusted reference collection,"offers over 175 fully-indexed, cross-searchable dictionary, language reference and subject reference works published by Oxford University Press, including detailed information across a broad subject range from titles in the world-renowned Oxford Companions Series. The ORO database is updated at least three times a year with new titles, new editions, and additional features. Recent ORO updates include the Oxford Dictionary of American Art and Artists, A Dictionary of Law Enforcement, A Dictionary of Environment and Conservation, the Oxford Companion to Irish History and the Oxford Companion to Scottish History. You'll also want to check out ORO's Fact of the Day, which can be delivered to your e-mail inbox every day. Remember that the ORO can be accessed via the library's web site 24/7 -- all you need is your library card number. Don't have a library card? Apply for one online.

Friday, November 2, 2007

New: Online Booklists & Rate Items in the Catalog

You know the library has a great selection of booklists for children (including Accelerated Reader lists), both in paper and on the library's Web site. Did you know that we also have online booklists and bibliographies for adults? If you see a recommended item that you'd like to borrow from the library, simply click on the link and place a hold using your online library account.

Aside from placing holds from home, your online library account also lets you "be the judge" and rate items (1 to 5 stars) in the library's collection. It's really quite simple. For example, if you look at our latest fiction, you'll see each item has a set of 5 stars. Click on the stars and rate the item. If you're logged into your library account, this will happen automatically. If you're not logged in yet, you'll be prompted to log in and can proceed with your starred rating. Since this is a new service, most items aren't rated. We hope that patrons find this feature "empowering" and we increase the number of items rated. So please... start rating!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

eResource of the Month: Literature Resource Center

The Literature Resource Center is a complete literature reference database designed for high school, undergraduate and graduate students as well as the casual user. Rich in biographical, bibliographical and critical content, the Literature Resource Center is the premier Internet resource for information on literary figures from all time periods writing in such genres as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, history, journalism and more. Features include:
  • Biographical entries on over 124,000 authors
  • More than 10,000 entries on literary figures, works and terms
  • Complete profiles of the 266 most studied authors
  • 11,700 biocritical essays on authors and their works written by academic scholars
  • Over 6,700 timeline events to help place literature in its historical and social context
  • 2,300 author portraits
  • A guide to writing a Modern Language Association-style research paper
To access the Literature Resource Center, or any of our other databases from your home computer, see the library's Web site ( and select Databases from the menu on the left (Hint: It's under "Find Information").

Friday, October 19, 2007

Protect Yourself Against Staph Infections

With the sudden rise in "super bugs" and staph infections, you may want to consult the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) Web site on Antibiotic/Antimicrobial Resistance. The site provides information on drug-resistant bacteria, including the one that's been in the news lately, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), as well as diseases connected with those bacteria and prevention tools you can use to protect yourself and your family.

More Information:

Friday, October 12, 2007

School Nutrition

Did you know that National School Lunch Week is October 15-19? If you want to ensure your child isn't eating ketchup as a vegetable/fruit, check out some of these e-resources for nutritious, tasty ideas to enhance your child's lunch sack...

If you happen to work at a school or make meals for large groups, you may want to check out the recipes provided by the School Nutrition Association.

Monday, October 1, 2007

eResource of the Month: Biography Resource Center

Recently redesigned for ease-of-use, Gale's Biography Resource Center is a comprehensive database of biographical information on over 340,000 people from throughout history, around the world, and across all disciplines and subject areas. It combines more than 435,000 biographies from respected sources such as Contemporary Authors, Encyclopedia of World Biography, Newsmakers, Notable Twentieth-Century Scientists, Contemporary Black Biography, Religious Leaders of America, International Dictionary of Art and Artists, Writers Directory, and many more. The database also includes more than 538,000 full-text articles from nearly 300 magazines including American History and U.S. News & World Report. The database also includes more than 26,000 images, in-depth coverage of key events, links to related Web sites and up-to-date reporting that can be found in current magazines.

Students will find this database especially handy, as they can search for biographies by name, browse by category (current world leaders, scientists, etc.) and even by occupation and ethnicity. There is also a spotlight biography which is updated 2-3 times a month.

To access the Biography Resource Center, visit your local library or log in from your home computer via the Find It Virginia link on the library's database page. For in-depth analysis of a person of interest, be sure to check out the library's collection of biographies.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

News As It Happened

History buffs may want to take a look at, which is a site for -- you guessed it -- old magazine articles. Topics covered include American Civil War History, Women's Fashion Society and Manners, European Royalty and more. For students doing papers on specific eras or events in history, reading articles that cover the events as they happened can be especially compelling. According to the Web site's owner, the old articles, essays, poetry, cartoons and photographs that can be found on the site have all been collected from a number of different libraries, bookshops and yard sales throughout the United States and Europe and are, to the best of his knowledge, in the public domain.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Career Advancement Tools and Resources

There are a number of online resources that can help you find a job, negotiate the right pay and to help you with your overall career objectives. Many of these resources are free. Below are a selection of Web sites and library subscription databases that can assist you as you look for a new job or career path.

On the Web... -- Search for jobs, post your resume for potential employers, access career-related videos and articles and even find schools to help you achieve your career goals. Probably one of the most popular career sites out there. Includes a Diversity & Inclusion job search with listings from employers that are actively seeking qualified diversity candidates. -- Includes popular tools like a salary wizard, jobs by salary range, articles on creating a resume, etc., even a job assessor if you're faced with multiple job offers. The downside to all this information is that you have to put up with a lot of advertising and upselling for premium ($$$) personalized salary reports.

At the Library...

Aside from items you can check out such topics as Cover letters, Occupations, Resumes and Vocational guidance, the library also subscribes to Peterson's Testing and Education Reference Center, which includes a specialized search for vocational schools, career colleges, information technology programs, executive education programs, and private secondary schools, as well as test prep for job skills assessment, civil service and licensing, military entrance and career placement. You can log on from home with your library card or use the high-speed connection on the library's computers and wireless network.

Offline Resources...

Lord Fairfax Community College -- Check out their Workforce Solutions site, which includes information on local courses and programs that provide personal and professional enrichment.

Culpeper Career Resource Center -- With a satellite office (the Workplace) located on Main St. in Warrenton, aims to help job seekers and small business owners in the county by providing a full line of job and career services, including job listings, internet access, computers with resume-building software, typewriters, fax and copy machines, telephone use, instructional videos on interviewing for employment.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

eResource of the Month: Encyclopaedia Britannica

When you hear the word "encyclopedia," do you envision a long row of books with dust covering them? If you haven't cracked open an encyclopedia lately, I suggest you check out the online version of Encyclopaedia Britannica, provided free-of-charge by Fauquier County Public Library.

Available for all ages as well as a version specifically for children, the encylopedia makes it easy to find the information you need. Simply type in your query into the search input box at the top of the page and find encyclopedia articles, photos, related Web sites and articles from scholarly journals and magazines. If you just need a definitition of your search term, you can select the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as your source versus the encyclopedia. If you want to refine your search, you can choose Advanced Search and limit your search to just multimedia or Web sites. You can also browse articles A-Z or by subject if you're not exactly sure what you're looking for.

Other highlights include...

Extended play videos as well as short video clips are available on a variety of educational topics. These videos can be downloaded and placed in Microsoft Power Point presentations.

The World Data Analyst allows you to create tables/charts which can be exported into Excel and the "Ranked Statistics" tool is handy when you need to compare a group of countries. You can also use the compare countries tool for a quick side-by-side comparison of different countries.

Learning Materials
Available in Britannica Online for Kids, includes standards-based worksheets, activities and exercises covering language arts, math, science and social studies curriculum.

Every month, the experts at Encyclopaedia Britannica pull together a collection of resources (biographies, articles, related Web sites, videos, etc.) on a specific topic, such as Hispanic Heritage or a Guide to Shakespeare.

The above are just a few of the features of this extensive resource. There are guides to writing papers, interactive timelines, even a collection of quotations. I suggest you check out Encyclopaedia Britannica Online yourself and get lost in a world of knowledge. From home, simply go to the library's Web site and select "Databases" under Find Information. You'll see Encyclopaedia Britannica (Reference Center and Kids) listed under Encyclopedias & Reference. All you need to access is your library card number.

You can also ask staff at your local library to show you the Encyclopaedia Britannica in action. Look for the eResource of the Month display or ask the reference librarian for more information.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Recommended Books for Children

The library is in the process of posting online lists of recommended books for children and young adults. If you visit the library's home page, click on Children, which is listed under Areas of Interest on the left side of the Web site. Once you are on the Children's page, select Book Lists, and you'll get a page listing book lists by type and area of interest.

In many cases, the book titles are conveniently linked to the library's online catalog, so if you see a great adventure story, simply click on the title and then place a hold on the title using your online library account.

We will be adding more lists by topic/genre and will post lists especially for young adults in the Teens area in the coming weeks.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

New Items Lists Updated

Be sure to visit the library's catalog to see the latest materials added to the collection. Go to the library home page, click on catalog and then choose new to the collection. There you'll see the latest Mysteries, Fiction, Children's Picture Books, etc. These lists are normally updated once a month. If you recently read a review or checked a best seller list and don't see the item on the new book list, check with the reference staff and they will see if it's on order or recommend that the library purchase the book. You can also recommend library purchases by submitting the online form that's on the catalog main screen.

Monday, August 20, 2007

America's Best Colleges 2008

US News & World Report's much discussed, often-maligned college rankings guide has been updated for 2008. Aside from rank, you can search for colleges based on cost, location, majors and sports and activities. Check out the Top 100 lists for interesting cuts of data, including colleges with the most students in the Greek system and the most students studying abroad. Beware that some portions of the Web site require a login/subscription to the "premium online edition" for $14.95. If that seems pricey, you can always visit the Warrenton Library to look at the print edition.

If you plan on studying at a college or university outside of the United States, you may want to look at the Academic Rankings of World Universities.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Toy Recalls

With all the toy recalls in the news as of late, it's hard to keep track of what toys are safe and which ones are hazardous. The Consumer Product Safety Commission keeps a running list of hazardous/unsafe toy recalls on their Web site. All products (not just toys) that have been recalled/been in the news are also listed. You can also sign up for product recall alerts.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Summer Learning Activities Continue

Even though the library's 2007 Summer Reading Program has come to an end, there's still some time left this summer for kids to explore reading and writing through summer activities from the International Reading Association. Suggested activities, which are organized by grade and age level, include taking a virtual field trip using Web sites with Webcams and then filling out an observation worksheet.

Additional learning materials are available through the library's subscription to Encyclopaedia Britannica for Kids. After logging in with your library card, select Learning Materials, which is listed in the yellow Student Center area of the kids homepage.

If you participated in this year's summer reading program, be sure to fill out one of our online surveys:

Survey for parents/children through grade 5

Survey for students grades 6+

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Countdown to Kindergarten

If you're a subscriber to the library's News & Events blog/newsletter, you already know that we will be hosting a program for children to get ready for kindergarten. You can supplement this special program with online activities from the Countdown to Kindergarten Web site. Organized by month, every activity is "kid tested" and most can be done with things already in your home. Each month’s activity includes children’s books about similar topics that you can get at the library to read together. You/your kindergartner may also want to check out some of the library's books that feature kindergartners. When you're at your local library, be sure to also ask a children's librarian for our printed brochure on Recommended Reading for Preschoolers and Kindergartners.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Virginia Organic Directory

Want to buy organic and locally? The Virginia Organic Directory helps you do both. Though technically not a searchable database, the directory is organized by product and easy to use. Hopefully as more producers are added, the listings will be made searchable, so that you can limit to Fauquier County. Listings include organic farm products, processed products made with certified organic ingredients and organic livestock processors, and all are Certified Organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Now that you've found some fresh, organic produce, check out the library's natural foods cookbooks.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Hungry For Some New Words?

Almost 2,700 new and revised words were added this past month to the Oxford English Dictionary Online, including the slang term chill pill and fattoush, a popular Middle Eastern cuisine.

The Oxford English Dictionary, which covers words from across the English-speaking world, is the authority on the evolution of the English language over the last millennium and covers the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words, both present and past. You've probably seen the 20+ volume print edition lining the shelves of your local public or academic library, but the online edition, which you can access from home with your Fauquier County Public Library card, allows everything from simple word look-ups to sophisticated Boolean searching. You can use any of the fields in the OED, and your search can be done with speed and ease. The online edition even allows you to find a term when you know the meaning but have forgotten the word.

Now that you've read up on fattoush, why not whip up some delicious Middle Eastern food using one of the library's cookbooks?

America's Magazines & Newspapers

Are you aware that the library provides library card holders free access to Newsbank's "America's Newspapers"? You can read, print or download back issues of regional newspapers, including the Baltimore Sun, the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirier, Richmond Times Dispatch, the Washington Post and the Washington Times. All titles include a minimum of the last 15 year's worth of articles.

Also, as part of the library's subscription to Newsbank, you get access to "America's Magazines," which cover U.S. and international news, business, lifestyle, entertainment, sports, and science and technology. Titles include Fortune, Entertainment Weekly, People, Popular Science, Sports Illustrated, Sports Illustrated Kids, Foreign Affairs, Baby Talk, InStyle and Real Simple. Just log in to the database with your Fauquier County Public Library card and select "America's News Magazines" from the list of databases.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Handy References

The library's reference librarians often get asked to find information such as directions to a particular location, side effects of specific medicines, a telephone number or address of a local business or a list of books in a series by a particular author. The answers to these questions are often available on the Internet. We've put together a list of these frequently used Web sites on the library's Web site for you to use at home. To get to our list of reference Web sites, go to the library's home page ( and then look under Areas of Interest on the left side of the page. Select Adults > Reference Resources > Recommended Web Sites by Subject to bring up the list.

Sunscreen Safety

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), many sunscreens on the market are ineffective, and in some cases, unsafe. Specifically, 83% of the 785 sunscreen products studied offer inadequate protection from the sun or contain ingredients with significant safety concerns. To see a list of best and worst sunscreens, including information on which sunscreens are best for children, check out the report at the EWG's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.

For more resources on taking care of your skin, visit our online catalog for books on skin care.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Create Book Lists and Bibliographies

How do I create a book list/bibliography?

The My List feature can be used to create a list of selected titles (a bibliography) while performing a search in the library's online catalog. This list can then be viewed online, e-mailed to a designated e-mail account or saved to a local disk if accessing the online catalog from your home computer.

Steps for creating a book list/bibliography:

1. Perform a search (author, title, subject, etc.);

2. When you find items you're interested in, click on the Save My List button on the left side of the search results screen, to the left of the item. Continue to search and add titles as needed. NOTE: Titles can be added to the your list list at any time during the search, but not after quitting from the search function;

3. Click on the View Saved button on your results page;

4. Choose the format of the display for your list/bibliography. The Brief Display fits most people's needs, as it includes the author, title, publisher information and the call number;

6. Choose to e-mail your list to a designated e-mail address, view online or save to a local disk if you're using your home computer.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Your Library, Online

Are you familiar with the library's online catalog? Did you know that you can access the library's resources from home as well as in the library? Just type into the address field of your Web browser. From there you can search for books in the library's collection.

If you have a Fauquier County Public Library card, you can set up an online account. With your online library account you can:

  • Access your library record from home or at your local library
  • Modify your personal information on file (address, e-mail, etc.)
  • Renew items you have checked out
  • Place holds
  • When logged in, place mutliple holds at one time without having to re-enter your name, library card and PIN
  • Create Preferred Search lists for your favorite authors and topics
How do you create an online account, you ask?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Let the Battle Begin

Parents, take note: the library has posted the 2007-2008 Fauquier County Public Schools' Battle of the Books lists for elementary and middle school students on our Book Lists page. The lists contain links to our online library catalog, so you can place a hold for the book from the comfort of your own home computer.

For more information about America's Battle of the Books, a voluntary reading incentive program for students in grades 4-12, check out

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Make better, more profitable investment decisions

If you're an investor in mutual funds, you may or may not know that the library subscribes to Morningstar, available in print format in the Warrenton library's business reference section. If you're like me, you might find the print edition, which can sometimes top out at 1600 pages, a tad intimidating. Luckily, the library also provides users access to Morningstar® Mutual Funds™ Online. Now you can access the latest issue under Most Recent Issue, select an entire group of funds to review under Reports by Category (i.e, small growth, short-term government bonds), or find a specific fund (i.e., Vanguard 500 Index) under Search. To use this online resource, please ask a reference librarian at the Warrenton, John Marshall or Bealeton Library to log you on to the service.

Morningstar Quick Facts:
Morningstar Mutual Funds is published in a 10-issue cycle called a volume. Twice per month, a new issue is delivered to the library (hard copy) and posted online. Each issue contains an Analysis Section and a Summary Section. It takes 10 issues or one volume (about five months) to update all 1600 funds covered in Morningstar Mutual Funds.

The Summary Section serves as an index for the entire 10-issue volume. It also includes a commentary, other editorial features (featured funds, top picks, analyst picks, etc.), and updated data tables. At the most basic level, the Summary Section functions as an alphabetical index to help you locate fund reports by page number. Additionally, this section provides a wealth of month-end data on all funds Morningstar covers and the Morningstar Categories.

The Analysis Section contains approximately 170 full-page fund reports, depending on the Morningstar Categories being covered in that issue.

For more library resources on mutual funds, check out the online catalog or ask at the reference desk.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Equilink: A Search Engine With Horsepower

For people who love horses, there is now a search engine for you called Equilink. Before I elaborate any further, please note that, in my opinion, I'm not sure if this Web site is really ready for "prime time." I found some of the features didn't work as expected, others seemed nonsensical. However, if you're a horse lover (and chances are, if you live in Fauquier County, you are), you'll probably find this search engine somewhat useful, or, at the very least, fun to browse through.

There are currently three ways to find information on Equilink:

  1. Search by Keyword

  2. Browse by Category: Breeds, Products, Services, Showing, Betting, Real Estate

  3. Browse by Discipline: Racing, Western, Hunt/Jump, Polo, Saddleseat, Trail, Eventing, Dressage and Vacation

The search engine is supposed to allow you to filter results by geographic location, but often when I tried limiting my results to the state of Virginia, I usually ended up with zero hits. This may be a function of the site being new and the categories not being filled out yet, or that a listing site for say, horse products, sells nationally and does not mention specific states and is thus not tagged by state.

The browsing options allow for lots of detail. For example, I decided to browse on the discipline Polo, and from there I could click on anything from polo apparel to veterinarians who specifically work with polo ponies.

I noticed that the site allows you to change the colors displayed on the site (default is a sort of burnt sienna brown). Useful if you have issues with the color burnt sienna. There is also a button labeled "Login," but when I clicked on that, I was just presented with a login/password screen, no information about setting up an account.

So, maybe Equilink is not perfect, but a search engine that focuses soley on all things horses may save you some time in the long run.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Parenting Resources Online

The library's Web site provides access to numerous electronic resources that can assist and inform harried parents of the Internet age.

The online catalog allows you to search for books, magazines and other resources that the library owns or subscribes to. Examples include Home Education magazine, books on infant care and parenting skills. If you have a Fauquier County Public Library card, you can log in from home and place requests to hold/reserve titles at your local branch.

Our list of Resources on the Web covers such topics as general parenting advice, Internet safety, education and child health and welfare. For instance,'s site includes a number of online and offline activities for parents and children that teach Internet safety and prevent victimization. Or maybe you're not sure what sort of snack to prepare for the kids afterschool. KidsHealth for Parents offers up a number of tasty recipes that are organized by specific health concerns (lactose intolerance, diabetes, celiac disease, etc.).

If you are interested in library programs for children and teens, check out our list of programs and special events, like the 2007 Summer Reading Program.

I encourage you to check out all the great online resources we offer and then get offline and enjoy time with the kids.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Oxford Reference Premium: The Classics

Planning a summer vacation to Greece or Rome? Involved in the library's daytime or evening Great Books clubs? If you don't know Ajax from Aesop, you may want to consider perusing the library's Oxford Reference Premium Collection, which includes several authoritative works covering "the Classics."

To access this electronic resource, simply log on with your Fauquier County Public Library card number. Under Subject Reference, choose Classics.

There you'll see titles such as Who's Who in the Classical World. Focusing exclusively on real people, this dictionary of ancient biography covers Greek and Roman history and politics, literature, philosophy, science and art and covers major historical and cultural themes in antiquity, centred round individuals as varied as Herodotus, Socrates, Plato, Alexander the Great and Augustus.

To better understand the inspiration behind so much of Western art and literature, check out the electronic version of the Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, an ideal reference book for anyone interested in the classical world and its literary heritage. It gives accounts of the lives of many classical authors and character entries and plot summaries for their works.

If you're looking for something more general, the Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization provides an authoritative survey of the Greek and Roman worlds in all their aspects, offering articles on diverse fields such as history and politics, ethics and morals, law and punishment, social and family life, language, literature and art, religion and mythology, technology, science and medicine.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Genealogy Gems

Fauquier County Public Library has a number of online resources to assist you in your genealogy quest, including Ancestry Library Edition. Ancestry Library Edition provides a wide range of resources for genealogical and historical research. It includes records from the U.S. Census, military records, court, land and probate records, vital and church records, directories, petitions for naturalization; passenger lists and more. Ancestry Library Edition is only available in the library, so make sure to visit your local branch and try it out.

Other databases that can be used outside of the library (only your library card number is needed for access) include Sanborn Digital Maps (discussed in my April 25th post) and HeritageQuest. HeritageQuest allows you to search the complete set of U.S. Federal Census images from 1790-1930, access over 20,000 local and family histories as well as selected records from the Revolutionary War Era Pension & Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files. Users can also search for individuals in the Freedman's Bank (1865-1874), a banking institution established in the city of Washington, District of Columbia, for the benefit of freed slaves. The information contained in many of the registers includes the account number, name of depositor, date of entry, place born, place brought up, residence, age, complexion, name of employer or occupation, wife or husband, children, father, mother, brothers and sisters, remarks, and signature. The early books sometimes also contain the name of the former master or mistress and the name of the plantation. Copies of death certificates have been pinned to some of the entries.

For information on local residents, the library houses microfilm files of the Fauquier Democrat (1907-present) and the Fauquier Citizen (1989-present). The library does have an online index to the Democrat, which is a work-in-progress. To save yourself some time, you may want to search there first to see if a life event (birth, death, marriage) was indexed yet. No library card or password is needed to access this resource.

Of course, most of the library's genealogical and local history collection is only available in print, so be sure to visit the recently restored Virginiana Room at the Warrenton Library.

Finally, I want to point out a nifty online tool for budding genealogists which has nothing to do with our collection, but seems very cool. It's called Geni and it lets you create a family tree through a very simple, intuitive interface. You can expand your tree (and people to help you) by adding relatives' email addresses. They will be invited to join your tree and can add other relatives (Aunt Sally may think to include information here that she forgot to tell you at the last family reunion). Your tree will continue to grow as relatives invite other relatives. Currently in beta, it's been dubbed a Facebook for families, and it's seems promising.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Current Events in the Classroom

If you're a teacher and looking to incorporate topics in the news into the classroom curriculum, Fauquier County Public Library has some resources to assist you.

First, check out the library's recently revamped Web page for Educators. Here you'll find resources available at the library and across the World Wide Web that are pertinent to your duties as an educator. If you click on the Current Events link under Internet Resources by Subject, you'll see links to sites like and the New York Times Learning Network. These sites include related lesson plans and other teacher-approved resources that help students decipher the messages they receive from various media sources.

Aside from great sites on the Web, remember that the library's collection includes the Current Controversies and Information Plus series, which cover newsworthy topics like crime, HIV/AIDS, the environment and gun control.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Keep Up With Library News and Events

Are you kicking yourself because you missed last month's meet-and-greet with mystery author Sandra Parshall? Now you have no excuse not to keep up with upcoming library programs and special events. If you don't remember to visit the library's Web site to see what's happening, you can sign up for the feed and/or the e-mail subscription to the library's latest blog, Library News & Events (a descriptive enough title, don't you think?).

Identity Theft Resources

It seems like every other day there is a story in the news about identity theft -- government contractors lose laptops with government employee information, a hacker steals thousands of customer records for a retail -- examples are, unfortunately, plentiful.

Did you know that the library's subscription to the Gale LegalForms database offers a number of helpful documents to assist victims of identity theft? Check this out...
  1. Using your 10-digit library card, log in to the Gale Legal Forms database.
  2. In the search box, type "identity theft" and select titles (default is categories), then click the Search button.
In the results listing, you'll see a number of pertinent documents to assist you. The Identity Theft Checklist (US-00710) is a great starting point, as it outlines the steps you need to take with regards to the various credit bureaus, law enforcement, the DMV, any creditor, etc. You can download this document (Microsoft Word), print out and check off the steps as you make your way through the process.

The database goes even further, providing you templates/sample letters that you can use when informing the authorities of the theft.

Having your personal information stolen can be a frightening ordeal. Hopefully, with resources such as this checklist, the process to get your identity back can be less overwhelming.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Save Money and Trees

To cover the costs of paper and toner, the library charges patrons who make printouts a fee of 10 cents per page. Before you print something out, you may want to find out how many pages will be printed to ensure you have enough money and that you're printing out only what you need.

First, click on File in the upper-left-hand corner of the screen and move the cursor to/click on Print Preview. A preview screen will appear. You’ll see at the bottom that there are X number of pages for the document. You can click on the printer icon located at the top left of this screen to print the document. You’ll get the print dialog box. Click on the Print button to complete the job.

If you decide that you don't want to print all the pages of the document, you can instead print just the portion of the document or Web site page that you need. To do this, using your mouse, right click and drag over the block of text on the document or Web site that you want to print, highlighting it. Click on File in the upper-left-hand corner of the screen and move the cursor to/click on Print. You'll get the print dialog box. If the All option is selected, the entire web page will print when you click OK. To avoid this, click the button labeled Selection versus All. Only the highlighted area will be printed when you click the Print button.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Introduction to the Internet

Do you know someone who is uncomfortable using a computer, particularly the Internet? The Fauquier Public Library offers several classes that introduce adults to the Internet. Topics covered include using the mouse, basic functions of the Internet Explorer browser (version 7), search engines and printing documents cost-effectively.

The classes run approximately 45 minutes and are as follows:

  • Warrenton Library: 9 a.m. third Tuesday of the month
  • Bealeton Library: 7:30 p.m. first Wednesday of the month(presented in English) and 7:30 p.m. third Wednesday of the month (presented in Spanish.)

Reserve a space by calling or registering at the library.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tip: Linking to the Online Catalog

Have you ever tried to e-mail or post a link to a particular item in our online catalog, but your e-mail or Web publishing program balked at the cumbersome URL (example - Now you can get a nice, short URL by clicking on or right-clicking on the "Click here for a permanent URL for this record" link. When you do that, you'll notice that the URL in the address bar will be something like, Much easier to send to a friend or post in your blog or personal Web page.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

There Went the Neighborhood

Wondering what your neighborhood or street looked like back in the early 1900s? Genealogists, architects, local historians and urban planners alike will find the library's Sanborn Digital Maps of Virginia an invaluable resource. The Sanborn Map Company was the primary publisher of fire insurance maps for American cities for nearly 100 years. These maps were used to estimate the potential fire risk for urban structures and include information such as the size and shape of each building, the type of construction materials used, the function of various structures and even the location of windows and doors. Local Virginia cities include Warrenton, Culpeper, Leesburg, Manassas and Woodstock. Once only available in microfilm, the electronic versions of these maps allow you to magnify and zoom in on particular sections and even layer maps from different years. You can view the Sanborn Digital Maps of Virginia collection online at the library or from the comfort of home. If you are at home, visit the library's Web site ( and click on Databases, which is under the heading Electronic Resources. The link to the Sanborn login screen is under Genealogy & History. All you need is your Fauquier County Public Library 10 digit library card number to access the collection.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Business and Market Research at Your Fingertips

Did you know that the library offers patrons free access to ReferenceUSA? This database is a powerful reference tool that allows you to locate specific businesses by location, SIC code, location and much more. Some reasons you may want to use ReferenceUSA include:
  1. Looking to open you own business? Select a location and do a radius search to look up the number of similar businesses in the area;
  2. Looking for a job? Conduct research on specific industries and companies and also find specific executives to contact (name of a human resources director, for example);
  3. Locate a parent and/or subsidiary companies -- find out where the buck really stops;
  4. Looking for a contractor to assist you with a home improvement project? Results for businesses in the database include any public filings, including liens;
Records can be downloaded and sorted to suit your individual needs.

I recently assisted a patron, a photographer new to the area, who wanted to contact local real estate agents and offer them his services, taking digital photographs of properties for real estate Web sites. Since the yellow pages is not always exhaustive (and "Googling" can send you off on a wild goose chase), we were able to use the SIC code search (brokers, agents, etc.) and come up with a concise mailing list of real estate contacts limited to the town of Warrenton.

If you would like to take advantage of the ReferenceUSA database, please ask the reference librarian at your local branch of the Fauquier County Public Library system. Due to licensing restrictions, patrons must use the database inside the library.