Friday, October 30, 2009

Virtual College Fairs

It's college fair season, and if you're looking to save money on travel costs, students and parents may want to consider trying a virtual college fair.

CollegeWeek Live - Free, online events designed to connect prospective students with colleges and universities in a live, interactive environment. Attendees can navigate through a virtual exhibit hall and visit virtual booths of over 200 colleges and universities where they can chat live with admissions officers and students. An auditorium offers live video presentations – and real time Q&A with leading experts on admissions and financial aid. CollegeWeekLive also offers scholarship resources, networking capabilities, prizes and special discounts from event sponsors and participating organizations. Registration is required, but it is free. - Students connect with colleges and Universities across the country via personal chat and online booths. See campus pictures, watch videos and read student blogs. Students can also provide their own feedback about their visits to college campuses by posting pictures and writing/posting reviews. Registration required (they'll ask you for your e-mail address), but if you have a Facebook account, you can simply use that login to enter the site by clicking any of the blue Facebook buttons.

While nothing can replace the face-to-face contact of a traditional in-person fair, virtual college fairs provide students, parents and colleges/universities the ability to connect with each other.

For more college resources (test prep, test dates, financial aid resources, etc.), please see the library's Web page For the College Bound.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

November is Native American Heritage Month

American Indian Heritage Month, also known as Native American Heritage Month and National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, began with an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the "First Americans" made to the establishment and growth of the United States. This effort, which began in the early part of the 20th century, resulted in the month of November being designated for that purpose.

Recommended Web Sites
The Library of Congress (LOC) provides a number of wonderful online resources and source material on specific native populations. For Native American Heritage Month, the LOC has partnered with the National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in paying tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans. The Web site includes images, audio/video and links to specific collections and exhibitions related to or encompassing Native American history, as well as lesson plans and activities for teachers and students.

For teachers, ReadWriteThink celebrates National American Indian Heritage Month with links to lesson plans, recommended Web sites and texts to inspire classroom learning. Also be sure to check out Smithsonian Education's American Indian Heritage Teaching Resources page.

Parents and teachers may want to try their hand at some Native American Crafts for Kids from

The National Park Service has put together a list of featured American Indian properties as well as lessons/exhibits of American Indian Heritage in our nation's parks.

PBS's American Experience series "We Shall Remain,", which describes itself as "a provocative multi-media project that establishes Native history as an essential part of American history," includes a Web site with all five (5) episodes available for viewing online. Other PBS sites with information on Native Americans include Colonial House, Antiques Roadshow and Lewis and Clark.

Suggested Databases
The library subscribes to several online databases that can help you with research on Native Americans:
  • Biography Resource Center alows you to browse for biographical information on the category Native Americans;

  • Both Britannica Online and World Book Online (kids' and regular/student versions) iclude in-depth research articles on Native Americans;

  • Search or browse Infotrac Religion & Philosophy on "Native American Religion" and "Native Americans" to learn more about indigenous people's beliefs;

  • In Bloom's Literary Reference Online, you can search on the terms "native american" and get a host of resources, including Bloom on Native-American Writers, bacckground on Native American literature and short fiction, and more;

  • Ancestry Library (in-library use only) has nineteen (19) databases available that cover specific Native American tribes as well as U.S. Indian Census Schedules;

And of course, you can always check the library's online catalog for books and materials to check out/take home.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Halloween Goodies Online

Halloween is just around the corner. Here are some spooktacular online resources for busy families:
  • Check out easy Halloween crafts, homemade costume ideas and pumpkin carving tips from;

  • The History Channel presents the history of Halloween and Jack O' Lanterns, info. on celebrations around the world, historic haunts and superstitions. You can even investigate paranormal activity with their Hidden Spirits game;

  • Log on to World Book Student and access articles on Halloween, holidays and other related topics;

  • Throw a Halloween bash with recipes from the Food Network;

  • If you're entertaining little ones (monster toes, anyone?), try the treats featured on Disney Family Food;

Offline resources include the library's Halloween programs for children as well as the "Ghosts of Fauquier County" program for adults.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tuneful Tots

Classics for Kids® helps children (and grown-ups, too!) learn about classicial music in a fun, non-intimidating atmosphere. Children can:
  • Listen to classical music online

  • Get the scoop on composers - search by name, country, musical period or use the timeline

  • Play classical music games, including one that lets you compose your own music and share with friends

  • Access a music dictionary, learn about the instruments of an orchestra, even explore careers in music
For educators, the Classics for Kids® lesson plans and teaching resources give teachers practical, effective plans and activities that use classical music to help children learn and meet national and state standards.

For additional classical music resources for children, check out the library's Classical Kids collection.

Italian-American Heritage Month

October is Italian-American Heritage Month and is a time to recognize the many achievements, contributions, and successes of Americans of Italian descent, as well as Italians in America. Here are some online resources that will help you get in touch with your inner Italian...


Friday, October 2, 2009

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

Whether you are a socially-conscious investor or a job seeker, you may want to look at more than a company's balance sheet to decide whether to invest or take a job. Now you can find human rights abuses information (worker exploitation, etc.) on over 4000 businesses worldwide using the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre web site. Users can search by company name, issue (discrimination, environment, etc.), country or topic (regions/countries, laws and lawsuits, etc.). If you don't have a particular company or issue in mind, you can always browse the online library.

The site is updated hourly with news and reports about companies’ human rights impacts worldwide – positive and negative, and links links to a wide range of materials published by: NGOs; companies & business organisations; UN, ILO & other intergovernmental organisations; governments & courts; policy experts & academics; social investment analysts; and journalists.

Companies that wish to submit clarifications/responses to items in the database are welcome to do so, and the site posts a disclaimer, "Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and its collaborative partners take no position on the diverse views presented in linked material by the various commentators, organizations & companies. As with any library, we cannot guarantee the factual accuracy of all the articles & reports we make."

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October e-Resource: eLibrary®

eLibrary® provides students and researchers access to more than 2,500 full-text magazines, newspapers, books, and transcripts--plus thousands of maps, pictures, educator-approved websites from Homework Central®, and top-quality multimedia (audio/video) files.

The easy-to-use search allows users to sort their results by relevance, date, Lexile or reading level, publication, and source. Parents, homeschoolers and educators can find content that's directly linked to state and national teaching standards.

The one-of-a-kind “Book Cart” feature allows teachers and parents to create reading lists, subject and topic pages, standards-linked lessons and activities, community interest pages, and even pre- or post-assessments.

Teachers and parents will also appreciate the Educator’s Tools section, which includes “teachable moments,” lesson plans, posters, flyers and videos. However, it appears that the content for this area has not been updated since April 2009, so be aware that it's probably more appropriate for finding information/lessons by topic (you can browse by topic) versus lessons tackling current events. Otherwise, you CAN get the latest teachable moments newsletter (which I'm told will eventually be loaded onto the eLibrary subscription site) from the ProQuest K-12 Web site. I would suggest that teachers should sign up for their newsletters anyway, just so you're aware of the newest content and features.

To access this all-in-one e-resource, visit your local library or log in from your home computer via the link on the library's Web site ( Find Information > Search for Articles & More > Magazines and Newspapers > eLibrary (via Find It Virginia).