Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Medicare Drug Plan Info

According to a new analysis of Medicare and Medicaid Services by Avalere Health, seven of the ten most popular Medicare prescription drug plans will raise premiums next year. The seven plans with double-digit premium increases were: the Humana Walmart-Preferred Rx Plan (23 percent); First Health Part D Premier (18 percent); First Health Part D Value Plus (17 percent); Cigna Medicare Rx Plan One (15 percent); Express Scripts Medicare-Value (13 percent); the HealthSpring Prescription Drug Plan (12 percent); and Humana Enhanced (11 percent).

In light of this new report and the fact that open enrollment season runs between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7, now is a good time to (re)familiarize yourself with and the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder. The site provides a wealth of information on Medicare plans, including drug coverage, supplemental insurance, help with claims and resources to help you coordinate your care.

Other online resources to check out include:
~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Piedmont Virginia Native Plant Database

Are you a gardener looking to incorporate plants that are native to our region? The Piedmont Virginia Native Plant Database, hosted by Albemarle County, now allows backyard enthusiasts to search for native plants by uses and growing conditions.

What is a native plant? In the case of this database, they are: (1) plants found in this region prior to the arrival of the colonists at Jamestown; (2) are historic to the Virginia Piedmont region; (3) help give us a sense of place; and (4) are an important part of our local ecosystem. A panel of local experts chose these plants based on their current or potential availability, their overall aesthetic interest, and their likelihood to grow well without major care.

See also the Piedmont District: Virginia Federation of Garden Club's website

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Six Great History Sites

Whether you're a history buff or a student (or parent of a student) looking for online materials to supplement your study of history, the following websites deliver an engaging, informative online experience...
  1. The Library of Congress' American Memory site is a great resource for written and spoken words, sound recordings, still and moving images, prints, maps, and sheet music that document the American experience.
  2. BBC: History offers an impressive array of exhibitions, activities, games, photo galleries and other resources. Major categories include: Ancient History, British History, World Wars, Historic Figures, Hands on History, History for Kids and On This Day.
  3. Mission U.S. immerses playsers in U.S. history via free, interactive online games. There are currently 2 missions (For Crown or Colony? and Flight to Freedom), with plans for additional missions in 2013 and 2014.
  4. The National Archives' Eyewitness site uses original documents and historic photos to present famous events and eras throughout history, including the "Bloody Sunday" march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama; the view from the Apollo 8; and the reunification of Germany.
  5. This Day in History, from the History Channel, provides a daily snapshot of historical events and people across a variety of areas (historical events, music, literature, etc.). You can view the calendar and choose a particular date of interest and/or sign up to receive a daily e-mail update.
  6. is a free resource where, using an interactive historical timeline, can watch associated television documentaries and videos. Currently the focus is on Britain and the American West.
~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Friday, September 14, 2012

Constitution Day - 9/17/2012

Celebrate Constitution Day (also known as Citizenship Day) on Monday, September 17, with these e-resources:
~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The War of 1812

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 (June 18, 1812–Feb. 17, 1815), a conflict fought between the United States and Great Britain primarily over British violations of U.S. maritime rights and the inspiration of our nation's most patriotic song, the Star Spangled Banner.

If you'd like to know more about this somewhat ignored part of our history, check out the following e-resources:
~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian

Saturday, September 1, 2012

e-Resource of the Month: Kids InfoBits

With school now in session, it's time to reacquaint parents and young students with free library homework help resources like Kids InfoBits.

Kids InfoBits meets the needs of young students with simple, quick access to curriculum-related information on current events, arts, sciences, health, people, government, sports, history and more. Age-appropriate reference books, magazine and newspaper articles from TIME for Kids, Weekly Reader, USA Today, etc., as well as videos, images, maps and charts make for an engaging research tool for students grades K-5.

Kids InfoBits' unique icon-based topics allows young students (and bad spellers!) to drill down from a broad topic to a narrowly-focused one. For example, Animals > Bugs & Worms > Ladybugs. Not only does this simplify research, it also helps students visualize the research process.

Like all library premium e-resources, Kids InfoBits can be found on the Articles & Databases page on the library's website (look under Magazines, Journals & Newspapers).

Related post: Homework Help

~ Alison -- Electronic Resources Librarian