Monday, September 15, 2008

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 through October 15. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was enacted into law in 1988. The day of Sept. 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept.18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, falls within this 30 day period. Incidentally, the word Hispanic does not refer to race, but is an ethnic term for diverse peoples of many races and origins who hold in common the Spanish language.

Explore the following online resources and bring Latino heritage to your home and classroom:

The library's subscriptions to World Book Online, Britannica Online and Find It Virginia (includes the Biography Resource Center, which includes a category browse for Hispanic Americans), provide a multitude of background documents, timelines and biographical sketches to assist students with school reports. Just log in with your 10-digit Fauquier County Public Library card number.'s Celebrate Latino Heritage site includes lesson plans for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 and high school students. Storytelling, writing and art are emphasized. Additional activities (Pinata Concentration Game) and background information (famous Latinos, Latinos in history, etc.) for all ages are part of the Celebrate Hispanic Heritage! section.

Gale Cengage Learning offers a number of free resources, including biographies of noteworthy Hispanics, quizzes and a timeline. celebrates Hispanic Heritage with featured biographies, study guides, online videos and a Latino trivia game.

Thinkfinity offers a rich collection of free lesson plans, activities and educational resources to educators.

The National Register of Historic Places web site highlights various properties listed in the National Register, travel itineraries, education lesson plans and National Parks that deal directly with the cultural and political experiences of Hispanic Americans.

Smithsonian Education features online educational activities and events at the various Smithsonian museums in Washington, DC. For example, Smithsonian Global Sound offers free music and videos from Latin American and from Hispanic communities in the U.S. A student activity is included.

The Library of Congress' National Hispanic Heritage Month online exhibit includes images and audio/visual presentations that bring history alive for young and old alike.

The National Education Association has compiled several booklists for grades kindergarten through adult that introduce readers to a rich vein of literature with a distinctly Hispanic sensibility. Be sure to check the library's online catalog to place titles on hold for pickup at your local branch.

Of course, the library also has plenty of materials on Hispanic Americans you can check out and take home to enjoy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Celebrate the Constitution

Did you know that Constitution Day is September 17? On that date in 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed by our Founding Fathers. Now Constitution Day (or Citizenship Day) is a time for the citizens of the United States to reflect and celebrate the history of the American Constitution.

You can read more about the U.S. Constitution and the history of the United States in World Book Online and Britannica Online by logging in with your library card number, or check out our new We the People Bookshelf along with other items in our online catalog:
Below are some Web sites that provide educational materials and activities for educators and students:

The National Constitution Center's Constitution Day site includes resources for teachers/students/community leaders/military members, all searchable by resource type and age group. The search defaults to free resources only, but note that the site does include items that require payment to use. There is also a handy calendar of Constitution Day events and special audio visual resources.

The National Archives Teaching with Documents program covers Observing Constitution Day, a listing of activities, lesson plans and information related to our Constitution and government. Students in grades 4-12 can participate in an online U.S. Constitution Workshop.

The Bill of Rights Institute provides numerous activities for teachers and middle and high school students. Examples include weekly eLessons which offer 20-minute discussion guides for middle and high school history and government teachers. Each eLesson includes a lively background reading, discussion questions and extension options. High School students can enter the Being an American Essay Contest for a chance to win up to $5000.

"Constitution Day is every day" at the U.S. Courts. Older students interested in legal theory may want to check out the streaming videos and online recordings that cover various interpretations of the Constitution by some of our U.S. Supreme Court justices as well as other Constitution-related educational resources.

After reading up on our founding document, you can test your knowledge by taking this online quiz offered by

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

eResource of the Month for September: Grant Research

Did you know that the Bealeton branch of the Fauquier County Public Library is a Cooperating Collection of the Foundation Center? The Bealeton Cooperating Collection is one of more than 240 Cooperating Collections in the U.S., and its mission is to help grant seekers find funding.

The Cooperating Collection at the Bealeton Library includes free access to two (2) online databases:

  1. Foundation Directory Online Professional - Searchable by keyword, granting organization, location, etc., this database, geared at non-profit organizations, includes over 92,000 foundations, corporate giving programs, and grantmaking public charities in the U.S.; a database of nearly 3,600 sponsoring companies, offering a quick pathway to corporate funders; a database of over 1.3 million recently awarded grants; and a keyword-searchable database of over 527,000 recently filed IRS Forms 990 and 990-PF.
  2. Foundation Grants to Individuals Online - An online database of more than 6,200 foundation and public charity programs that fund students (i.e., fund your education), artists, researchers, and other individual (versus non-profit organizations) grantseekers, including small businesses.

How the Cooperating Collection print resources and the online databases can help you:

  • Learn the basics of grant seeking and grant making
  • Gather information about grant proposals and proposal writing
  • Find detailed profiles for foundations and corporate givers
  • Explore additional topics related to philanthropy and fundraising
There is no charge to users for this service, but you must visit the Bealeton Library in person to access the databases. Stop by the reference desk for more information and/or assistance.