Thursday, August 28, 2008

Election Resources for Students

Looking for some good Web sites for students that explore the ins and outs of politics and this year's presidential election?

Scholastic's Election 2008 includes a profile of each party candidate, campaign news, an election blog (posts from the national conventions, etc.) written specifically for kids, election games and a presidential poll for students. The site's Explore the Election section also includes everything you need to know about the Electoral College, campaigning, the candidates views on specific issues, the various political parties (not just Democrat vs. Republican), tips from journalists if you're a kid reporting on the elections and information on how government works. The site includes lesson plans and activities for use in the classroom and parents will appreciate the special Parent Guide to the 2008 Presidential Elections.

High school students can compare the candidates' positions on 25 issues on the non-partisan VoteGopher site. Issues covered include Iraq, poverty, government reform, abortion and stem cell research and more. VoteGopher, which was founded in 2007 by a Harvard sophomore, provides background on the issues, clearly lays out each candidates' position and even allows you to vote on your preference of candidate for that specific issue., from the U.S. Department of State also has an online Guide to the 2008 Election that includes a delegate diary, the U.S. electoral system, a quick look of candidate's views on key issues such as Iraq, energy and climate change and immigration and a close-up view of state in local issues in seven (7) districts, including Virginia's 2nd district.

The Democracy Project, from PBS, provides a kids' tour of government, "Be the President for a Day," and a discussion of the importance of voting.

TIME for Kids' Election Connection 2008, geared at younger elementary students includes campaign games, an "electionary" of important words in this year's election, and a government guide that you can use to contact your representatives in Washington, D.C.

Want to expand the discussion beyond just this year's election? Check out Presidents: The Secret History, from PBS Kids. Here you can find out some presidential facts that are unfamiliar to most people. For example, did you know that Harry Truman had read all 2,000 books in his public library by the time he graduated from high school?

Another great site on government in general, broken down by grade level, is Ben's Guide to U.S. Government from the U.S. Government Printing Office. This will save you time from tracking down the various government agency Web sites that explain how it all works.

The Online NewsHour's EXTRA election site, geared at teachers to use in the classroom, includes news updates, student-written content, lesson plans and more.

Finally, the Washington Post's Campaign 2008 site provides the older student with in-depth candidate profiles and related topics, including campaign finance, presidential endorsements, a Choose Your Candidate Quiz and an Electoral College Predication Map, which allows you to save/share your picks as well as see past election results.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Virginia Resource Guide for Students

Do you or does your son/daughter have a report due on the Old Dominion? A quick way to get the facts on Virginia is through World Book Encyclopedia. Instead of relying on questionable results from a Google search or sifting through multiple sources, log in to World Book with your library card and click on the Explore Virginia tab. Here you'll find information on the people, land, climate, economy, education system and any special reports that the editors of World Book have published. There are even links to related Web sites that have been carefully selected by the editors of World Book.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Internet Scams - Fight Back

If you believe you are the victim of an Internet crime, or if you are aware of an attempted crime, you can file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). Even if you are lucky enough not to have a complaint to file, I urge you to check out IC3's list of current and ongoing Internet trends and schemes (the FBI has a list as well) along with their prevention tips before you enter into your next transaction over the 'Net.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Consumer Reports -- Access it for Free!

While you can always visit your local library to look at the latest issues of Consumer Reports, did you know you can access the full-text of Consumer Reports from your computer? It's free and all you need is your library card number.
  1. Go to the library's Web site (
  2. Click on Search for Articles & More from the left-hand menu
  3. Consumer Reports can be found in the following Find It Virginia-sponsored databases from Gale - InfoTrac OneFile, General Reference Center Gold, Business & Company Resource Center and InfoTrac Student Edition, among others
  4. When you've selected the database you want, you'll need to enter your library system and library card number to begin your search

The Gale databases allow you to search by publication title, so if you wanted to get reviews on laptop computers, for instance, you could search keyword "laptops" and enter "consumer reports" in the publication field.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Olympians in the Spotlight

Beginning August 8, the opening night of the Beijing Games, the "Spotlight" on the homepage of Biography Resource Center will focus on Dara Torres, who is returning to the Games for a record-setting fifth time. In addition, there is a new category browse list of Summer Olympic Athletes from the past and present. This list is one click away in the "Top 5 Topic" box at the upper left of the Biography Resource Center homepage, and includes more than 90 athletes spanning sports and countries. More than a third of the listees are international. Athlete biographies will be updated as medals are recorded.

To access Biography Resource Center, click on Find Information > Search for Articles & More. Biography Resource Center is listed under Encylopedias & Reference. You'll need your Fauquier County Public Library card to log into the database, which is part of Find It Virginia.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Library Computer Classes

Starting in September, the library will be expanding computing training classes from monthly to a weekly basis at the Warrenton and John Marshall branches.

Warrenton Library will host the classes on Tuesdays from 9-10 a.m. The John Marshall branch will host classes on Wednesdays from 11 a.m.-noon. Space is limited and advance registration is required. Please call the Warrenton or John Marshall branch to reserve a space.

Week 1 - Internet Basics –Learn basic Internet terminology and the fundamentals of navigating the World Wide Web using the Internet Explorer browser. This class, aimed at beginners, includes an introduction to library's web site and lots of practice with the mouse.

Week 2 - Introduction to Web-based E-Mail – Learn how to create and access a free e-mail account from any computer. Students should be familiar with computers and the Internet.

Week 3 - Search & Explore the Internet –Students will use popular search engines, Internet directories and the Library’s own Web site to find information. Students should be familiar with computers and the Internet.

Week 4 - Advanced Internet Topics –Students will learn how to create/store documents online for easy access and free tools they can use to “blog,” keep an online calendar and create their own Web site. Students should be comfortable using the computer and the Internet.

The Bealeton Library will continue to host a monthly class, Introduction to the Internet, in both English (1st Wednesday of the month) and Spanish (3rd Wednesday of the month).

e-Resource of the Month for August: InfoTrac Student Edition

This month’s featured electronic resources are InfoTrac Student Edition and InfoTrac Junior Edition.

Accessible via your library card on Find It Virginia, InfoTrac K-12 Student Edition is the one-stop, multi-source general reference center designed especially for high school students. It provides a combination of abstracts, images and full text articles covering general interest periodicals, maps, reference books and thousands of newspaper articles. Full-text publications include Consumer Reports, History Today, Modern Language Quarterly and numerous regional newspapers.

InfoTrac Junior Edition, for middle school students, features more than 300 indexed and 300 full-text general interest magazines, thousands of newspaper articles, dictionaries and more than 300 maps.

InfoTrac's Junior and Senior editions are a preferred alternative to "Googling" for information because they offer screened, age-appropriate, reliable content that is acceptable for homework assignments.

To search for magazine and newspaper articles and other electronic resources from all the library's databases, visit our Web site.